Saturday, October 29, 2005

another update on Secret, and something about tourists...

I first wrote on 2 August, and again on 16 September about Secret, a cat that went missing from Beloit, Wisconsin.

Secret has now been missing since mid-July. The latest report is that Secret may be somewhere in the woods around Evansville. Her human has asked hunters in the area to keep a look out for Secret.

'Cat owner hopes for help from hunters' from Beloit Daily News of 12 October 2005.

On to a different topic. My good friend Camilla recently wrote about the debate between tourists and travellers (ie, what is the difference?). Also check out 'I'm a tourist, you're a tourist and let's all be OK with that' by John Flinn in the San Francisco Chronicle of 16 October 2005.

Unlike Camilla, I don't travel. I like being in my house. I say thank goodness for the internet and television. My human, on the other paw, has done quite a bit of travelling.

He would never identify as a tourist, unless that word was to his advantage. Sometimes a traveller, but always a visitor (as in visiting from out of town, or indeed out of country).

He's met some very ugly tourists and travellers alike (not as in not good-looking, but meaning loud, obnoxious, and rude).

He reckons that a reason to travel, tour or visit someplace else (for personal reasons, not business/work) is to experience another part of the world. Every nice tourist/traveller/visitor has a story about the obnoxious American/German/British/Australian etc tourist/traveller/backpacker etc that they have encountered.

My human told me that when he was in Vienna a couple of years back and stayed at a youth hostel, there were lots of other Australians there. There was one girl who was very young and immature who had just arrived from Prague. All she could talk about was getting drunk and visiting the Globe Bookstore. She bought a book there as it was the only English language bookstore in the Czech Republic at the time, and highly frequented by young American tourists (like on Spring break). Goodness knows why, as it is only a bookshop. Anyway, my human was quite astounded how she kept on ranting about a bookstore. He wondered whether it was the only bookstore she had ever visited and it was the first book she had ever bought, especially as there are also plenty of excellent bookstores in Melbourne from which she hailed.

There was another young couple from Melbourne. They went to the opera instead. They were my human's kind of people. They were there to experience the city.

Then there was one time my human was in Chiangmai (in northern Thailand) and Michelle (who visits me from time to time) needed a caffeine fix so they went to Starbucks (unfortunately). Inside was a group of young American Spring break tourists (including the stereotyped 'I'm such a princess' bitch) who arrived with their McDonalds. My human was very surprised that they wanted to eat crap food as Thailand is home to one of the finest cuisines in the world. They should have stayed home!

The point of this story is that people who travel to another place should do more than act like they have temporarily relocated to a foreign country just to take photos. It is about having an experience, interacting with the local people on their terms (after all it is their country), and learning from it. And of course helping the local economy by buying unique items from local craftspeople.

A learning experience in a new place would be to find the local food markets and supermarkets, then check out what sort of different things are available; watch the local news in the local language, and if possible read the local newspaper. And most importantly of all, avoid those ubiquitous global fast food places (even if the local food is crap).

*As always, please check out Cooper and Camilla who always have interesting things to say.


I have been having lots of lap time so far this weekend. Last night we started watching Batman Begins and watched the rest this morning. What a good movie. Finally, someone got it right!

I also went outside while the washing was being hung out. After my human came back from his Saturday walk to the shops, we had a nice early afternoon nap together on the couch. I like to lie next to my human and stretch my front paws over my head and press my belly against him. Nice.

Later, Handel's Rinaldo came on the TV and I watched/listened to it. It was great. Then I supervised my human outside pruning the Virginia Creeper around my deck (it was turning into a jungle, which I prefer but I didn't get any say on the matter).

I think tonight we are going to watch some more of the new version of the very scarey Salem's Lot.


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