Thursday, August 25, 2011

Back from my journey ... with the scars to prove it.

Well, I'm back and it was an amazing trip, with lot's of very interesting and very surprising experiences. Imagine attending a concert that included works by Puccini and Bizet and Andrew Lloyd Webber, among others, all performed by Russian and Mongolian singers and dancers in a beautiful concert hall in the Siberian city of Ulan Ude, located less than 300 miles from the Mongolian border. I mean, who would have thought?

By the way, It is not easy being an American traveling through Europe these days. After a week or ten days of getting relaxed being around each other, my fellow tour members and I started getting into political discussions on the tour buses and over meals. The English-speaking group included eight Brits, a Malaysian, three Dutch, six Norwegians, four Swedes and an Australian ... all of whom were quite well-informed about what has been going on in the U.S. over the past 3-4 months. The discussions were lively and interesting but, essentially, their questions could all be paraphrased and summed up as follows: "Have you Americans completely lost your minds??"