Japan: Before and After Tsunami Pictures


I’m sure you all agree with me that the recent earthquake and tsunami in Japan has been an astonishing reminder of the power of Mother Nature and no matter how powerful we think we are, we’re still small-fry in comparison. My heart goes out to all those that have been affected by this truly tragic event.

I found this piece on ABC News with before and after pictures of the areas most effected by the tsunami. They make for astonishing viewing (if anyone knows how I could have embedded the pictures rather than just link, please e-mail me the instructions or leave them in the comments) Roll the mouse from left to right on each picture to see the difference:

http://www.abc.net.au/news/events/japan-quake-2011/beforeafter.htm

 

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Hòa thượng Thích Quảng Đức


Ok, so self-immolation has been going on for centuries, particularly in India. But for most of the western world, the first time we ever heard of this type of protest was when a buddhist monk in Vietnam sat down at a crossroads in Saigon on 11th June 1963, had 5 litres of gasolene poured over him and dropped a lit match into his lap. He did this in reaction to the Buddhist Crisis  and treatment by the ruling administration in South Vietnam, Ngo Dinh Diem being the president at the time. It was caught on film for the world to see:

I’m not posting this for shock value or for any political reason. I simply think it needs sharing. I think the world needs to see what true devotion and true belief means. Granted, I can’t believe Thích Quảng Đức did such a thing or why ANYONE would do such a thing, but it is amazing what people will do and the lengths they’ll go to for a cause they truly believe in.

I think the other amazing thing about this particular case is Thích Quảng Đức didn’t move or make one sound while he burned. He fell over after his death, but the whole time he sat in the lotus position and never moved a muscle.

 

This also got me to thinking of the student protests going on in London of late over the increase to university fees. The students have resorted to violence to try to get their message across. This, historically, has never been a useful tool in protesting or getting what you want. Generally speaking, it has the adverse effect. I wonder what Thích Quảng Đức would have made of these protesters and their methods. Probably agree that it was pointless and will achieve nothing, but I’m not sure how many people would agree that his way was better (although it could be argued he helped the coup take place)

Too Old To Travel?


I’m still a young, sprightly 26-year-old man, with my whole life ahead of me. But my mind wonders what the future holds.

My wife is currently expecting our first baby. This is a fantastic thing and I am over the moon about it. What better adventure is there than parenthood. Obviously, I’m terrified of balling it up, but on the whole, excitement is the order of the day. But it is going to change my entire life!

I’ve always dreamed of travelling. I went to Bangkok for my 21st birthday with my best friend and had the time of my life. ever since then, my one over-riding dream is to travel and see the world. I then met my wife, who never really shared my passion. True, she’s more than happy to go on holiday to places and I have got her to Thailand and Bali, but it’s never been a major thing for her. So my plans of traversing Thailand, Burma, Bangladesh and India have fallen by the wayside, but I always half expected to be able to talk her round. Then we bought a house, so the money disappeared and the responsibilities appeared. Now, the biggest responsibility is about to make an appearance.

This may sound like I’m moaning and blaming my wife for the circumstances leading to my current position, but I’m not. Far from it. I wouldn’t change things as I love my life. However, I still have to fulfill my dream. Only it looks like this won’t be completed until I’m in my 50’s (barring a lottery win).

So I guess my question is: how old is too old?

Without being prejudice or ageist, does being of an older vintage hold you back when travelling to places? Does it make you less inclined to take risks, go without any little luxuries, take a chance on things that younger people wouldn’t think about?

Again, this all seems very ageist of me and I really don’t mean it to. I just look at my parents. I can’t imagine my mum hiking through jungles to reach some remote village, or travelling through a country on the back of a pick-up on the basis that “Juan the driver said he knew where he was going”. No, she’d want to know the coach was legit, the driver was registered and that the remote village exists and has a nice room for her to freshen up in when she gets there.

This is all well and good, but it is not the dream I have in my mind’s eye. I picture a back-pack, me walking through towns and villages without a clue where I am and trying to communicate with people. Trying new foods, new experiences, new cultures without any form of preconception or any “necessary” requests. And I’m worried my future age will block this dream.

But I’m sure if I truly want it and keep the dream in my mind, I can make it come true.

Let me know about your dreams (travel related or not)