Have bubbles, will travel

Last night the Old Boy and I enjoyed a delightful evening with friends: fabulous food, little glass of drinky poos and even a little gift each! (Thank you, you-know-who!) They’ve recently returned from a trip to England, France and Greece, with stop-overs in Abu Dhabi and Bangkok on the way home. You’ll be pleased to know that I was not jealous…much.

Via the medium of digital photography on computer linked to TV (technological wizardry), we saw a little of what they saw. I’m one of the strange few who actually (really) loves seeing people’s holiday snaps. It’s the only way I’m going to see most of the world and I’m not above living vicariously through other people’s experiences. I figure, the good Lord gave me an imagination and it’d be a waste not to use it.

So, in the comfort of their recliner chair, I visited Stonehenge, Salisbury Cathedral, Tintagel, Paris, Athens, Corinth, the oracle at Delphi, Olympia, Santorini and a couple of other Greek Islands. I went on a camel trek into the desert and thought, “Why?” I saw Greek monasteries perched on gigantic boulders, seemingly carved out of the rock, clinging precariously to the very edges of said rock and thought, “Why and how?” I sat with my friends in little cafes and watched them drink Ouzo and thought, “Liquid licorice?  I think not.”

I saw the ridiculously tall and oddly-shaped skyscrapers in Abu Dhabi and compared them to the towering cathedrals in Salisbury, St Paul’s and Notre Dame, and  the monumental temples in Greece (including all the Roman ones) and, finally, iconic Stonehenge. And I reflected a little on Australian achievements in the same vein: the big lobster; the giant koala; the big pineapple; the ridiculously big banana… What is it with humanity that we need to build gigantic things?

Are we, as a species, so deeply insecure we have to erect giant structures that scream out to the universe, “Notice me! Look at me! I done good.” Why are we obsessed with recreating the Tower of Babel? Is it a neurotic longing for former glory, or an attempt to capture that elusive something that will finally assuage our yearning for self-worth?

I think it’s interesting that all the big wigs – the pharaohs, the emperors, the chiefs – felt the need to build a monument of some sort to say, “I was here. I was important. Don’t forget me.” Obviously, it wasn’t enough to be important in their life-time. We’re a vain species; never content to just be. It’s one of our greatest strengths (because it drives us on to invent, to improve, to explore) but it’s also one of our greatest weaknesses.

Yes, it’s amazing how reflective and philosophical I can become with the right combination of bubbles, roast lamb, macarons and photographs.



  1. Wendy Noble
    Jul 8, 2013

    I had the same sense of deja vu, Ken, except that the photographs were of places a lot more exotic than the local beach. And, it went a lot faster because we didn’t have to wait for Dad to load the next slide cartridge. 🙂

  2. Ken Rolph
    Jul 7, 2013

    Holiday snaps! The thing that shows how far we have come. Our grown up children wanted to share some experiences with grandma and grandpop. So they brought their tiny little digital cameras and I plugged them into our widescreen TV. We sat there in the dark watching the grandkids on the beach, at the playground, at the railway museum. The kids said how wonderful it was that they could share the experience like this, how modern technology had made such things possible. had a sudden sense of deja vu.

    We had just re-invented the 1960s slide night.

    I wanted to say Ektachrome! Had we come that far? No one had to send the film off for processing and no one could put the slides into the projector upside down or back the front. I suppose that’s an advance.

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