Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Episode 11: It's a Culture Thing

I've found myself saying this often. When I'd hear car horns blazing their profanities for someone blocking traffic:

"It's a culture thing."

There's the Procession of Our Lady Fatima, where they walk from Macau Cathedral to Penha Chapel, closing down major roads and none of the drivers stuck for two hours were complaining. It commemorates the miracle of Fatima in Portugal in 1917.

"It's a culture thing."

Eating crab congee, fish balls, chicken hearts, pork liver, and beef stomach. Frog, chicken feet, fish & shrimp heads, fish skin, ramen with wontons, and dim sum- only in Southeast Asia.

"It's a culture thing."

The Feast of Buddha was especially wonderful. I entered the Western Monastery in the outskirts of Tsuen Wan in Hong Kong and joined a Buddhist service- chanting, walking around the altar and offering incense. Custom says Buddhists take statues of Buddha and pour water over him.

The Ching Ming festival was one that I had missed to partake in. 104 days after the Winter Solstice, it is equivalent to All Souls Day, where people sweep their ancestor's graves, give offerings, and pay their respects. The picture below shows family members burning spirit items so that the deceased may receive them and live a comfortable afterlife.

I get these butterflies in my stomach. Look! Culture! When I said hi to a European with a hug, we greeted with hugging and touching both cheeks. Something exotic that I get to partake in. I live for these moments that remind me that humans do live their lives unlike what I have been accustomed to. In reality, it's a dumbfounded saying. Culture is everywhere. I have simply been culturally conditioned to American culture. But culture is everywhere. It's an observation of human life and their customs. I had only experienced 22 years of it in America.

After this realization, I thought, why am I writing this blog post? Why am I writing this travel blog? Do people read it? Do you enjoy reading it? Apparently, some do- I have readers from Russia, Germany and the Netherlands where I have no ties. Almost a 1,300 views in 4 months. Not too bad. The interwebs is a wonderful thing.

Until next time.

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