The land of the holy, which is a slightly curious choice as I think I am turning into an atheist. I can hear the pundits’ wails of derision – “You can’t be a bit of an atheist, that’s like saying you’re a bit pregnant; you either are or you aren’t”. The thing is, I have a great respect for all religions, I am just not sure if I believe in it. Again – bizarre. I guess its the intrinsic difference between a racist joke and a joke about racism. What was I saying? Oy vey - Israel.I suppose it is an offshoot of the affinity I feel towards the Middle East, and the fact I am an unabashed history buff and adore the folklore of how traditions are passed down through generations. In these times of short shrift and disposable consumption, centres that have a rich history resonate with me deeply. I have nothing to do with the creaking machinery of humanity – I belong to the earth! I say that lying on my pillow and I can feel the horns sprouting from my temples. (ooh, a Henry Miller quote – you fancy huh!)
Inextricably linked to history is linguistics, and Hebrew is one of the oldest languages in the world. I am also fascinated by the coexistence of the modern world and these relics of another time. I would like to bear witness to the black-hatted Chassidim praying at the Wailing Wall, alongside young Jewish men winding the Tefillin across their forearms. Throw in the opportunity to visit the site of Jesus’ birth, and its all immensely enticing.
Of course I wouldn’t mind schlepping it over to the nearby Dead Sea – I would be meshuggina not to. (Cue the sad tuba.)
Next point on the holiday wish-list – Tanzania. I remember watching a travel show a few months ago (I watch barely any television, so it was a monumental and memorable event) and this coastal African nation was featured. I found it enchanting – it is all at once a tropical spice isle and a wild landscape - imagine a rollicking safari in a banged-up Jeep, with the backdrop of a setting sun melding with an ochre African plain - a fanciful day in anyone’s memory bank. The town of Dar-es Salaam was mentioned, triggering childhood memories of Roald Dahl’s autobiography, in which he recounts his time as a Shell employee during the 30’s.
I would also like to see Mt. Kilimanjaro, although global warming seems to have made the snows unfortunately a thing of the past. And seeing as I am in the area, a stay at the whimsical Giraffe Manor in nearby Nairobi would be a delightful inclusion to the itinerary.
Like many Australians, travel is a rite of passage when we ‘come of age’. Somehow we got the idea that by getting the hell away from where we are they could find something better. Because if a man could muster the guts or even the desperation to move a few thousand miles there was a pretty good chance that he’d have money in his pocket and meat in his belly and one hell of a romping good time. (Aah HST, who do we look to in your absence?) And the usual suspects of the UK and Europe are most often first on the list.
But I have had an epiphany of late – Australia is a big place (hurr hurr), and I haven’t really visited any of our own treasures. I have recently come across a phenomenon called ‘glamping’ – glamourous camping. Asinine name aside, this is an intriguing prospect – stay in luxurious ‘tents’ amidst quintessential Aussie outback spots. I guess that’s how we do it Down Under, where the women glow and the men p….. ah forget it.
I have to admit this post has been influenced in part by my great affection and fangirlism of the Ricky Gervais/Stephen Merchant developed show “An Idiot Abroad”, which showcased Manchester’s favourite son, Karl Pilkington travelling the globe to visit the 7 wonders, and the shitty journey along the way.
So what are your thoughts? Any suggestions, please feel free to comment below.
Send me a postcard, drop me a line, stating point of view
Indicate precisely what you mean to say, yours sincerely wasting away.