My Own Paparazzi – Around the World Day 16

The problem with writing a blog series about my experiences while I take the time to circumvent the globe is that I am the one always taking the pictures, so rarely am I in the pictures. You get to read about my experiences, but sometimes it is hard to make the connection with the moment and the person who is having it. At the same time, I am not going to hire my own camera man to walk around with me to take pictures so I can share them with you. Yes, you would benefit, but I would always be in this constant weird place where I someone would always be lurking around the corner so they could record my life.

This is part of the reason that I enjoyed the experience I had on my last full day in Lagos. Christine and I went on a kayaking tour around the coast line to see the rocks up close and sneak into some of the caves along the way. The danger to cameras while doing this is obvious. A wave can come along, and sweep it into the depths of the Atlantic Ocean. Even if it just falls into the water, being soaked in salt water can’t be good for any piece of electronics. The company that took us on our voyage understood this, and had their own camera man come along to take pictures of us as we went along that we could use as we saw fit when we got back. Granted, it was like the old days where we had to wait until the next morning before we were able to access them, but it is okay in this age of instant gratification to have to wait for things a little while.

There was another added bonus that I didn’t even think about. We got to enjoy the moment without having to record it for prosperity’s sake. This is another problem that many people don’t realize in the age of digital cameras that can record every moment and share it instantly with everybody that we know. We are so concerned with taking picture of what we are doing instead of just enjoying the moment. Go to concerts and you will see people holding up their cell phones so they can record the whole show instead of just enjoying the music. Go to any tourist spot, and there are tour groups shoving each other out of the way so they can get the perfect picture. Even while going out to dinner, people need to take picture of the food before they eat, and take selfies of themselves enjoying it, instead of just enjoying it. You can’t take a picture of the taste. You are just going to have to savor it in your memory. So why do you need a picture of it?

Now, I am not saying that you should quit taking pictures. It is a fun hobby that I enjoy. I like thinking of the composition of each of my shots and what I can do to make them unique and tell a story at the same time. And they are a great way to preserve the moments for all time. All I am saying is to keep it in perspective. You do not need to take a picture of every moment you live. Sometimes, it is better to just enjoy the moment because that memory will be more vivid than any picture you ever take. And you will find that you enjoy the moment more that way.

This is what EZRides allowed us to do on that kayaking trip. It was fun to explore those caves, and I got to sit there a moment longer to marvel at the rock structures I was looking at instead of quickly taking a picture so I could move on to the next marvel. I got to listen to the guide explain how the cliffs were formed and about the beaches we traveled by. I got to enjoy the moment for what it had to offer, and because of that it was easily the best kayak trip I have ever taken. It changed my perspective on things. I now wonder if I should put the camera down from time to time and just enjoy the moment for what it is.

This blog post was written without the knowledge of EZRides, and I highly recommend their service if you ever find yourself in Lagos and want to go kayaking. You will enjoy the experience.

A Party Presents Itself – Around the World Day 15

One of the things I love about traveling through Europe during the summer is the fact that there is always something always going on that you had not planned for. There have been many times through my travels where I have run into a party already in progress, and have just gone with the flow of it. This is what happened yesterday when Lagos put on a World Beer Tour. It wasn’t the best beer festival I have been to because it mainly had mass produced beer that it offered, but it was still an opportunity to get together with the locals and see how they have fun during the hot months.

This happens no matter where you go. You just need to be up to the option of letting all of your plans go because the moment is meant to be enjoyed. Whether this is a celebration of the old town, or a soccer match that means a lot to the people there. Just become a part of the community for that day, and you will know what it is like to live there.

So with that in mind, Cheers.

The Simple Things in Life – Around the World Day 14

I know I have been writing about beaches a lot lately, but what else am I supposed to do. Everywhere I turn there is a new and more stunning beach than the last one and if I have the option of relaxing on that beach I am going to take it. And since that is all I have really done in the past few days that is all I have to talk about.

And this trip has been talking about a lot of the sites with great historical significance that I have been lucky enough to visit. It is kind of what you do in Europe. By being able to see these places, I gain a better understanding of how the countries of the world are related to each other, and why it is important that everybody understands this perspective because without it, we are heading to a society similar to ancient times where countries had a hard time getting along with each other; thereby, causing a lot of war and destruction among themselves.

It is really easy to get caught up with these cultural moments when you travel. It is part of the reason that we do it. But it is also important to slow down and enjoy other aspects of travel that we sometimes ignore because we want to get in everything we possibly can in the short time that we have there. That is why I took the time last night to grab a small picnic of fresh fruit, good cheese, and some jamon ham and travel up to the lighthouse at the edge of town and watch the sunset. It is doing small little things like this where the stories start to emerge.

Now, I am not saying that this is a unique idea. Many people go out to the lighthouse to watch the sunset. It is one of the attractions of Lagos. If you ever find yourself here, and want to do this, I would recommend going out early to stake out your place because even though there are many to chose from out there, the good one get snatched up quickly. Make sure you bring a good bottle of wine with you; they are easy to find because there are many to choose from in Portugal, and most of them are rather inexpensive as long as you stick to the ones made out here. This way you can enjoy the company of the one you brought with you and just revel in the moment.

We still had a few visitors, and one of them even wanted to join us in our picnic dinner. Who knew that cats loved fresh mango so much? And even though this could have been an awkward moment, it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would. He left soon after he found out that we were going to give into his requests to go look for better prospects, but it was still fun to have him join us for such a short period of time.

And eventually we got to enjoy the sunset. At this time of the year, it does not set over the ocean, but it was still a spectacular sight. It is moments like this that allows me to reflect on how lucky my life has been. I have seen sunsets over many different locations over the world from the oceans of Boracay to the beaches of Oregon, from the plains of the Serengeti to the mountains of the Rocky Mountains. I do think it is important that we put aside the petty bickering and fighting that we often tangle ourselves in so we can enjoy these smaller moments in life. When you find those small moments they start to seem more important than all of that rush that we subject ourselves to. I am glad to have gotten to witness the sunset at this new location, and I can’t wait to see where the next spectacular one will be.

(By the way, J.J. Abrams would be proud. Lens-flares.)

Finding My Beach – Around the World Day 12

Lagos is not only known for its historic town paths, and old building; it is also known for the lush beaches that stretch on the shore of its tiny peninsula at the southern tip of Portugal. I knew about them before I can out here, but I didn’t know what type of beach to expect. I was thinking that I would have to walk over a small knoll and see it spread out before me, but the beach in Lagos are much more dramatic than that. There are a bunch of different ones dotted along the shore, and you have to hike along a cliff until you find the right one for you.

They weren’t as crowded as I thought they might be either, probably because there are enough of them out there, and everyone wants to find there own little spot on the sand, so if one beach looks too crowded, they will just move on to the next one. I only ventured past two beaches before I found the one that I liked best, Dona Ana Beach. It was the perfect beach day too. The sun was shining in the clear blue sky. The sand was not too hot because a cool breeze blew in from off the Atlantic, and if things got too warm, I could just hop into the cool water. And yes, the water was cool, but once I got my under, I was okay with it. The best part were all of the rocky structure that nature had provided to look at. It made the beach unique and even though it reminded me of beaches in Australia, they were unique enough that I knew I was some place different.

The part that caught my interest the most though, was a small cliff off to the west side of the beach. There was always a group of swimmers congregating over there, and working their way over the outcropping. I wondered what could be so exciting over there, that I needed to investigate further. When I looked over the little cliff, I found a new small sandy beach that was carved into the cliffs through a cave that the ocean had slowly made. I knew I was on to something great because even though I saw many people climb over this tiny cliff to get here, none of them could be seen. There had to be more beyond that cave, so I had to investigate.

It was worth the little adventure, because I found a secluded beach with even more impressive rock structures. The people that made their way over here would take a picture or two and then head back to the more populated part of the coast, so the beach was not populated much at all, only visited from time to time. I became one of these few that hung here for a bit before going back because I had been on the beach for a long while before investigating this tiny spot, but I wish I had taken the time to go a little further because that would have been the relaxing spot that I was looking for. It just shows me that sometime we feel like we have found the perfect spot on the beach, and settle for it, but if we had just pushed ourselves a little further, the perfect spot is just over the ridge, and through the cave. We should be willing to look for that perfect spot a little more.

 

 

I really shouldn’t complain though because the place I found have plenty of interesting things to see, and I enjoyed my time in the sun. I don’t think there is ever a time when you can’t enjoy the beach, and that is the main thing to do while out in Lagos. It just means that there are more beaches to explore, and I need to go over the ridge tomorrow to find a new one to enjoy.

Travel Day – Around the World Day 11

I went back to heading west, and can now add Portugal to the 35 countries I have visited. It really blows my mind that twelve years ago I had only visited two countries, and one of those was Canada. Back then Canada was our friend, so I am glad I got that one in before they shut their borders to Americans.

Even though I did travel to a new country, I have not really had the opportunity to enjoy it yet. It took all day to get to the town of Lagos on the southern tip of the country. My journey took me on a bus, plane, and for the first time on this trip around the world, a car. It also highlighted what I dislike about travel days. They make you feel like you are doing a whole lot of nothing, but it takes you all day to do it, and by the time you get to your destination, you are completely worn out. You get shuffled around from place to place in the hopes that companies can transport people quickly and efficiently. The sad thing about it is they sometimes forget that they are dealing with people.

The day was crazy. We had to catch a bus to take us to the airport. Traffic cut it a little short for us, but we were still able to grab breakfast because on our first flight was a little delayed. This made the transfer to our second flight a little stressful because we arrived at the exact moment they started boarding, but we were lucky because the people who worked there had to get two large groups of middle school kids onto our flight. Luckily, they were there so we could make our flight. Unluckily, they were on our flight, but it was only a forty-five minute flight, so it was like teaching a overcrowded class of middle school kids. We then got a car and drove the rest of the way to our Air B+B, having a little difficult time navigating the skinny streets of the old part of Lagos. We got up at six in the morning to arrive at five and didn’t want to do anything but enjoy a glass of wine on our patio.

It was exhausting, but we were able to see some fun sites along the way. The landscape of Portugal reminds me of the northern part of New Mexico, it has small little villas tucked away on small hills dotted with short trees because that is all that will grow in this environment. But the sun constantly shined, and the air is a refreshing change from Korea’s because it is clean and you can see for miles around.

The town of Lagos is also a warm and welcoming place with many pedestrian avenues to stroll down with many small shops and cafes to enjoy. I only got to do a small walk through town, but it made me excited for what I was going to be able to see during the next couple of days. It also has a beach, but I haven’t made it to that section of town yet.

Even though the day was a little bit of a struggle, it was completely worth the effort because I now find myself in a small seaside town where the pace of things will slow down considerably. Knowing me, I will still have to get out and explore the area a little bit, and I have a car to do just that, but for now I will just enjoy this little town and see what it has to offer.