Tuesday, 20 January 2009

Inaugural thoughts.

As President Obama concludes his inaugural address to the USA, and the world, I return to the warmth of my boat. There was a small group clustered around the TV to listen and watch this amazing historic occasion. As an outsider even I had a lump in my throat as I recalled the long generational path that brings this bright and articulate man to the steps of the White House. What must he have felt like, what echoes of family history and childish experiences must have whirled around his mind in the dark hours of last night. I wonder whether he slept at all!

If you haven't read his book, Dreams from my father, I highly recommend it. I have it on the boat and am amazed how many Americans I have lent it to in the past few months.

My son, in London, just texted to say that Obama had been sworn in. The world is watching..

I scrape in to the category of 'baby boomer'. Well only just! It is, maybe, my generation that have the greatest challenge to grasp. The children of parents who had seen much deprivation during one or even two world wars. The children of a generation who worked hard and saved for their retirement. We have been indulged, promised the world, the moon and even the stars...

And as the order of the world we are used to changes, as the life that we have taken for granted alters before our eyes I wonder how well we will rise to the challenge? Seems to me it will get ugly before it begins to heal...

But as TBH reminds me often the only resource we have is ourselves. The ability to learn, change, adapt and grow are the very root of life. Bit like cruising isn't it! Just as you think you have learned something along comes a new challenge and back you go to the beginning again, ah me!

As I sat listening to the speech I was struck by the surroundings that we are in. The sun filtering through the palm trees. Edgar Allan Egret, the resident white egret, flew in to stalk elegantly along the dock and Inez and Fito ,two of the staff members, paused under the shade of the Flamboyant tree to pass a comment or two about the gringo's watching the TV! I wonder what they were thinking? This small cultural bubble that sits on the river, in the jungle, in Guatemala brings a weird perspective into the lives of it's inhabitants . That's the frustrating thing about travel, you never really get to know what's going on in the mind's of the local's. Probably a good thing on reflection!

Mind you it's a damn sight warmer here on the Rio than it is in Washington. Did you see the wonderful 'Fagin' style gloves that the pianist was wearing during the quartet's performance? And how the hell did YoYo Ma get his cello to stay in tune in that temperature. Brrrrr......

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