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  • Day87

    At Sea

    March 11, 2015, Bay of Bengal ⋅ ⛅ 27 °C

    We are coming to the realization that we are probably about 20 years too late to see this remarkable Southeast Asia in the way most of us think about it. Globalization for better of worse has equalized peoples and cultures to such a great extent that it is truly hard to tell what country you are really in when you are standing in the main parts of any of these cities. Modern high end brands are found in every mall from New York to Semarang. There is an income inequality that is staggering in some of these areas and makes our problems back home seem fairly manageable. There is not such a different vibe though as I would have expected. People largely wear the same clothes, drive the same cars/motorcycles and eat the same food (if from slightly different sources) in all the places we have been. We are able to get glimpses of some of the old culture but usually it is in the poorer parts of town or the rural areas which is much like it is in the States. The middle class and wealthy live closer to the same life everywhere we go.
    Unfortunately some of the things that make traveling interesting are those differences that are being lost or hidden in a way that the casual traveler has difficultly finding them. It makes it clearer that to really experience a country that we are going to have to spend much more time there then vacations and tours allow to really get to know the differences in how people live and think.
    The great thing about this trip is that it is allowing us to see where we think it would be fun to do that kind of travel in the future.
    We are looking forward to moving into a different area. One thing about moving by slow boat is that you do at least get to see each area very well and Southeast Asia was represented by some very lovely and interesting places. Nancy and I need some non-city time so the next few stops we are traveling to game parks in Sri Lanka and snorkeling islands in the Maldives. Hopefully we won't see a city until Mombassa. :-)
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