Diogenes, the famous Greek philosopher, was once asked where he was from. He replied “I am a citizen of the world”. The Greek word for this is kosmopolitês.
Later on, the Stoic crowd further developed Diogenes’ thought into an entire framework called cosmopolitanism. Essentially, the circle model of identity puts yourself in the middle of expanding concentric circles of importance: immediate family, extended family, friends, neighbors, humanity. This was underscored by an emphasis of the importance of a shared affinity for humanity.
I like cosmopolitanism. It seems like a healthy way to view the world.
Continue reading Kosmopolitês
The largest slum in South Africa, Khayelitsha, is a township just outside Cape Town. It’s composed of around 400,000 residents, most of which are Xhosa.
It’s so much different from the expected mental image of an African slum, as it’s both on the beach and cold and windy. Residents walk around in parkas rather than t-shirts, at least in the winter, and the ground is white sand rather than clay or mud. Continue reading Khayelitsha, South Africa
Drive a couple hours south of the Texas border, and Mexico is more like a medieval Tuscan village than the violent images conjured in our media. Continue reading Guanajuato, Mexico
I kicked off my two weeks in New Zealand by flying into Wellington, at the southern tip of the North Island. I travel frequently, but this flight had wiped me out. Four connections and forty-seven hours later, not to mention a seventeen-hour timezone difference, and I was ready to crash. I drove my little subcompact rental car to the hotel and fell headfirst into bed. Continue reading New Zealand’s South Island
Waiting for a flight out of Nairobi, a week after the airport had been almost destroyed by an arson fire, I was about to blow a gasket. The already inefficient African customs process was a nightmare, with passengers being herded under temporary tents on the tarmac and Kenyan security guards barking orders everywhere.
Continue reading Bribing a Kenyan Border Guard
Near the end of the month, I wrapped up the last of my work and managed to grab a few free days. I woke early and headed down to Flavours and ordered a Castle Lite and sat at the bar. By now I was on a first name basis with the waitresses, and they chattered back and forth with me in singsong African English.
I wanted a motorcycle to ride, so I asked the waitress if she knew anyone who’d be up for renting me one for the day.
Continue reading Riding a Bajaj 100 in Uganda