“I travel not to see imposing monuments. Which indeed somewhat bore me. Nor beautiful scenery, of which I soon tire. I avoid the great. I would not cross the road to meet a president or king…” – “In A Strange Land” Somerset Maugham

As I read Maugham’s quote, the guilt I feel when confessing I bore easily when looking at tourist attractions disappears. I, too, prefer a good discussion with an ordinary person much more than walking about a castle or hoping to speak to a famous person.

My life lives out the idea that people, ordinary day to day people, are far more, like Somerset Maugham, interesting to me than cities, mountains, rivers, man-made things, and a second’s touch with the famous.  

This does not by any means mean, I am not a lover and admirer of all creation; it simply means humans, God’s highest creation, captures my interest and curiosity the most.

One castle visit is enough.  

One magnificent cathedral is enough.

Two castles are one too many.

A long bus ride to see a crocodile tires me.

One giant waterfall is enough.

Up early, touring all day is very hard work.

The theme of In A Strange Land is the delight of people; all kinds of people; not sites or famous people.

On this 14 day cruise, there will be at least one attraction in each country visited that I will remember.  These experiences are filed joyfully and carefully in my memory bank. I will treasure them for years to come.

Puerto Vallarta, Mexico – The fantastic city growth since our visit 30 years ago. No longer is there a five-year-old girl with the saddest eyes begging in the city stream while her mother washes clothes.

Huatulco, Mexico – Remarkable clean scene from a five-star hotel overlooking the city & ocean. Loved this place, where many snowbirds own condos.

Puerto Quetzal, Guatemala – Famous for its jade and home to the city of Antigua. I will remember we walked forever on stone streets.

Corinto, Nicaragua – Giant cathedral in Leon city, huge cathedral being painted by low paid workers; about 100 dollars a month, not a day or a week; an entire month. Country of Red Sox Hall of Fame Dennis “Pedro” Perez.

So many shacks, unkept streets with buildings posted with pictures of President Ortega and VP Mrs. Ortega everywhere. Yes, indeed the wife is the VP.

Sad heart for these people under this dictatorial leadership called democracy.  

Costa Rica – River cruise looking for crocodiles. 52 species of humming birds. Best papaya I have eaten in a long time. Amazing, no armies since 1947 yet a true prosperous democracy. Seems a miracle to me Nicaragua has not tried a takeover. Nice country.

Next up is the Panama Canal. 12,000 ships a year pass through. I am excited to be one of these vessels in 2017. 5000 people died building the canal. At 1913, it took 350 million US dollars. It was called one of the 7 wonders of the modern world.

Cartagena, Colombia, city on the Atlantic. Conquered by the Spanish. Sir Francis Drake tried to take it for England. Incredible craftsmanship reminded me of Edinburgh Castle – fort in Scotland.

Yet, for Words of Hope author, the best part of the tour has been people, not attractions.

  • Visit with elderly Jewish college professor. Such a kind, wise man. Curiosity is a gift. He is a Hebrew scholar. A deep discussion of the Old Testament would be delightful.
  • 84-year-old Alaskan who flew war planes. Now an advocate for the “fair tax.”  Kind of person you want to get to know. Married over 60 years – must know something.
  • 90-year-old couple who played music with the famous Tommy Dorsey Band; one of my parent’s favorites. Delightful, happily married couple. Mrs. Emily played the piano. Mr. Charles the sax. Great visit.

Workers on the boat. kind, generous and hard workers. My kind of people. Our two delightful cabin men, from Indonesia, work 10 months, 7 days a week from 5 a .m. to 12 midnight with a nap midday. And best of all they are grateful for a job!

Touring with 49 Alaskans. Good people. Interesting lives. Dedicated to USA.   

Reminds me of brother Mike quoting Arnold Palmer,

“If there were no fans there would be no stars.”

Palmers quote makes me realize I can be a fan of the people God places in my life and be grateful for the people cheering for me as I fight to win Life’s Battles.

Fact! If there were no people in our lives there would be nobody to love. Nobody to honor. Nobody to talk to. Nobody to hug. Nobody to serve.

If there is a greater privilege than loving people please tell me. Loving people lasts for eternity. If loving people were easy, everybody would be loving people. Loving people is work. It is a selfless act.

“Just Love People” is a better slogan than “Just Do It.” And you don’t need a swoosh to love people.

Just Love People. We have the perfect example. Imitate the Lord of Lords, the Prince of Peace, Mighty Counselor, the Alpha and the Omega.  


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