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Tuesday, 11 March 2008

Travel Tip #2: Slow Down!

I was in the British Museum in London the other day, enjoying its fantastic collection of artifacts from all over the world, when I was yet again struck by how quickly most people rush through the main attractions of their trip. I was on the ground floor looking at some immense stone bas-reliefs from the Assyrian palaces, and people were shooting past like meteors. The scenes are amazingly detailed and well crafted, and although I've looked at them on dozens of visits I always find something new. This time I noticed that in one scene of a cavalry battle, there's a vulture flying overhead with some human entrails in its mouth.

Isn't it a shame that all the people flying past failed to notice this? It's not every day you get to see a vulture eating human entrails, and all those people missed their chance.

When I was in the huge Temple of Karnak in Egypt it was even worse. I got there at dawn in order to avoid the crowds, and for a couple of hours I had the place almost to myself. Even the vendors selling postcards and fake antiquities were still asleep. Soon enough, though, the air-conditions tour buses started pulling up, and the place was inundated with sun burnt Americans and Europeans. I sat down in the Great Hypostyle Hall in the Precinct of Amun-Re, a huge room nearly filled with massive pillars adorned with hieroglyphs. I'd sit admiring some of the pillars, then moved to see others. It was entrancing, and I ended up spending the entire afternoon in that one vast room, watching the shadows move, revealing new hieroglyphs and veiling others. It was the most memorable day of a memorable trip, and not one of those tour groups spent more than five minutes in the Hypostyle Hall. In their rush to see so much, they saw so little.

So when you're on a trip, slow down. It's better to see a few things well then a lot of things poorly. When you're on the road of life, always make sure you take time out to examine the entrails.

1 comment:

sctshep said...

We do that with our lives. Sadly.