Boats and Breezes

Trip Start Sep 30, 2005
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Trip End Jun 04, 2006


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Flag of United Kingdom  ,
Friday, May 26, 2006

I ended the weekend with a face looking a bit like a baboon's backside, and spent the next 48 hours drinking litres of water to rehydrate my wearied body. It was all the result of having spent time outside, by the sea enjoying the sun and wind ripping up the Solent. The Round the World Yacht Race is in port and the sleek ocean racers cut a dash amidst the fleet of weekend sailors and motor yachts which have added themselves to the ferries and hovercraft shuttling to and from the Isle of Wight. Everywhere you look, there are boats. It's a magnificent, almost chaotic spectacle which the human eye can behold, but the camera doesn't do justice to.

I was in Portsmouth visiting my friends, Helen and Sam, who are here on holiday from China and here to buy a new British home too. It was enlightening but enjoyable to sit and talk with Sam who readily admits he's missed the opportunity just to sit and talk in English and to explore ideas and, I suppose, to be implicitly understood from a cultural perspective having lived in an almost exclusively Chinese environment in recent months. Even the jet lag and fatigue from running around finalising the purchase of his new home doesn't stop him talking. It's a pleasure for both of us to talk, but I wonder what would happen to me, or anybody else, if the comfort of this kind of release from an alien environment didn't exist. Down the ages, people have had to cope, but they must have found ways to take care of themselves and their needs in this respect. For all that it's easy to scorn them as small minded, I suppose that's why expat ghetto's spring up.

This is a day for musing on such things. The activity on the water is non-stop. You don't need to plan to find anything to do on a day like this, you can just sit and watch the ships go by. Thinking about leaving the UK as I am, a day like this makes you appreciate the things that you can enjoy here that people in many parts of the world cannot. It doesn't make me sad to think that I'm going away, but it increases the sense of enjoyment of what I have in front of me now. I know that I'm fortunate enough and free enough of mind and body to choose to find things to enjoy and share wherever I am and wherever I choose to be.
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