December 25, 2011
Christmas in Every Language & Customs Around the World
Language is one of the most powerful things we have and when we can't communicate with someone because we don't know their language, we rely on hand gestures, hugs, expressions and the most universal ones: smiles when we're happy, tears when we're not.
I've spend the holidays in several countries over the years including India, Thailand, Australia, Mexico, South Africa, England, the Netherlands, Israel, France and a few places I'm sure I'm forgetting. Celebrations obviously differ even when you're celebrating within the same culture or religion. Jewish friends in New York buy a Hannukah bush, others don't honor it at all. If you've grown up in New England or northern Europe, snow often comes with Christmas and it becomes an association for you. If you live in Australia or Africa, chances are you've never had a white christmas.
Brazilians have a tradition of creating a nativity scene or Presepio, whose origins come from the Hebrew word "presepium" which means the bed of straw upon which Jesus first slept in Bethlehem. The Presepio is common in northeastern Brazil (Bahi, Sergipe, Rio Grande do Norte, Paraiba, Maranhao, Ceara, Pernambuco, Piaui and Alagoas).
In Denmark, a christmas feast was traditionally celebrated at midnight, where a special rice pudding is served. In the pudding, a single almond is hidden and whoever finds it will have good luck for the coming year. The bringer of gifts is known as Julemanden and arrives in a sleigh drawn by reindeer, a sack over his back. Sound famliar? He is asissted by Yuletide chores by elves called Juul Nisse, who are said to live in attics.
In Iraq, Christian families light candles, light a bonfire of thorn bushes and sing. If the thorns burn to ashes, good luck will be granted. When the fire dies, each person jumps over the ashes three times and make a wish.
Like in many Latin American countries, Nicaragua retains many of the customs of old Spain. In the weeks leading up to Christmas, people stroll the streets where there are many things to buy: candles, Nativity pictures, toys and foods. Children carry fragrant bouquets to the alter of the Virgin and sing carols. On Christmas Eve, church bells beckon the people to Midnight Mass.
In South America, Venezuelans attend a daily early morning church service between December 16th and 24th called Misa de Aguinaldo ("Early Morning Mass.") In Caracas, the capital city, it is customary to roller-skate to this service and many neighborhoods close the streets to cars until 8 a.m. Before bedtime children tie one end of a piece of string to their big toe and hang the other out the window. The next morning, rollerskaters give a tug to any string they see hanging.
In Japan, Christmas was apparently brought over by Christian missionaries but today, it has become very commercialized largely because gift giving is something that appeals to the culture. This is an interesting and funny story if its true, but in the scene of the Nativity when it first came to Japan, was so foreign for them because Japanese babies don't sleep in cradles. Like the states, they eat turkey on Christmas Day (ham is also common with many families) and in some places, there are community Christmas trees. Houses even have evergreens and mistletoe. They also have a god or priest known as Hoteiosho, who closely resembles Santa Claus, often depicted as an old man carrying a huge pack. He is thought to have eyes in the back of his head.
And, you've gotta love the Scots since they have so many quirky customs considering how close they live to the English. Celebration around the holidays is much bigger for New Years Eve than it is for Christmas, something they refer to as Hogmanay. This word may derive from a kind of oat cake that was traditionally given to children on New Year's Eve. The first person to set foot in a residence in a New Year is thought to profoundly affect the fortunes of the inhabitants. Generally strangers are thought to bring good luck. Depending on the area, it may be better to have a dark-haired or fair-haired stranger set foot in the house. This tradition is widely known as "first footing."
In the Czech Republic (formerly Czechoslovakia and before that known as Bohemia), they bring their traditions from the 10th century home of Good King Wenceslaus, the main character in the familiar English Christmas carol. It is said that English troops, fighting in Bohemia hundreds of years later, brought the song home with them. St. Nicholas is called Svaty Mikalas and is believed to climb to earth down from heaven on a golden rope with his companions, an angel and a whip-carrying devil.
An ancient tradition shared by the Czechs and in Poland involves cutting a branch from a cherry tree and putting it in water indoors to bloom. If the bloom opens in time for Christmas, it is considered good luck and also a sign that the winter may be short.
I'm amazed how many of these traditions involve some superficial physical ritual that somehow tells us whether good luck or bad luck will fall upon us, not unlike snapping a chicken wish bone in two I guess...or flipping a coin.
Below is a fabulous and fun list of Merry Christmas and Happy New Years in many languages from around the world. Obviously, we didn't capture them all but we did include a healthy list to get you started with practicing but you never know when you will come across someone from another culture around the holidays.
Alsatian: E güeti Wïnâchte un e gleckichs Nej Johr
Arabic: أجمل التهاني بمناسبة الميلاد و حلول السنة الجديدة (ajmil at-tihānī bimunāsabah al-mīlād wa ḥilūl as-sanah al-jadīdah)
Armenian: Շնորհաւոր Նոր Տարի եւ Սուրբ Ծնունդ: (Shnorhavor Nor Daree yev Soorp Dzuhnoont) Բարի կաղանդ և ամանոր (Paree gaghant yev amanor)
Bengali: শুভ বড়দিন (shubho bôṛodin)
Cherokee: ᏓᏂᏍᏔᏲᎯᎲ & ᎠᎵᎮᎵᏍᏗ ᎢᏤ ᎤᏕᏘᏴᎠᏌᏗᏒ - (Danistayohihv & Aliheli'sdi Itse Udetiyvasadisv)
Cheyenne: Hoesenestotse & Aa'eEmona'e
Cornish: Nadelik Lowen ha Blydhen Nowydh Da and Nadelik Looan ha Looan Blethen Noweth
Danish: Glædelig jul og godt nytår
English: Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
Estonian: Rõõmsaid Jõule ja Head Uut Aastat and Häid Jõule ja Head Uut Aastat
Fijian: Me Nomuni na marau ni siga ni sucu kei na tawase ni yabaki vou
Filipino: Maligayang pasko at manigong bagong taon!
Flemish: Zalig Kerstfeest en Gelukkig Nieuwjaar
French: Joyeux Noël et bonne année
German: Frohe/Fröhliche Weihnachten - und ein gutes neues Jahr / ein gutes Neues / und ein gesundes neues Jahr / und einen guten Rutsch ins neue Jahr
German (Swiss): Schöni Fäschttäg / Schöni Wienachte -- und e guets neus Jahr / en guete Rutsch is neue Johr -- Schöni Wiehnachte und es guets Neus -- Schöni Wiänachtä, äs guets Nöis
German (Bavarian): Froue Weihnåcht'n, und a guad's nei's Joah
Haitan Creole: Jwaye Nowèl e Bònn Ane
Hawaiian: Mele Kalikimaka me ka Hauʻoli Makahiki Hou
Hebrew: חג מולד שמח ושנה טובה - Chag Molad Sameach v'Shanah Tovah
Hungarian: Kellemes karácsonyt és boldog új évet
Indonesian: Selamat hari natal dan tahun baru
Irish: Nollaig shona duit/daoibh (Happy Christmas to you). Beannachtaí na Nollag (Christmas Greetings). Beannachtaí an tSéasúir (Season's Greetings) and Athbhliain faoi mhaise duit/daoibh (Prosperous New Year). Also, Bliain úr faoi shéan is faoi mhaise duit/daoibh (Happy New Year to you)
Italian: Buon Natale e felice anno nuovo
Japanese: メリークリスマス (merī kurisumasu) -- New Year greeting - 'Western' style
新年おめでとうございます (shinnen omedetō gozaimasu)
New Year greetings - Japanese style
明けましておめでとうございます (akemashite omedetō gozaimasu)
旧年中大変お世話になりました (kyūnenjū taihen osewa ni narimashita)
本年もよろしくお願いいたします (honnen mo yoroshiku onegai itashimasu)
Klingon: QISmaS DatIvjaj 'ej DIS chu' DatIvjaj (sg) and QISmaS botIvjaj 'ej DIS chu' botIvjaj (pl)
Korean: 즐거운 성탄절 보내시고 새해 복 많이 받으세요 and (jeulgeoun seongtanjeol bonaesigo saehae bok manhi bateusaeyo)
Kurdish: Kirîsmes u ser sala we pîroz be (and) Kirîsmes u salî nwêtan lê pîroz bê
Lithuanian: Linksmų Kalėdų ir laimingų Naujųjų Metų
Maltese: Il-Milied Ħieni u s-Sena t-Tajba - Awguri għas-sena l-ġdida
Maori: Meri Kirihimete me ngā mihi o te tau hou ki a koutou katoa
Mongolian: Танд зул сарын баярын болон шинэ жилийн мэндийг хүргэе and (Tand zul sariin bayriin bolon shine jiliin mendiig hurgey)
Navajo: Ya'at'eeh Keshmish
Nepali: क्रस्मसको शुभकामना तथा नयाँ वर्षको शुभकामना - (krismas ko subhakamana tatha nayabarsha ko subhakamana)
Norweigan: God jul og godt nytt år (Bokmål) and God jol og godt nyttår (Nynorsk)
Old English: Glæd Geol and Gesælig Niw Gear
Punjabi: ਮੈਰੀ ਕ੍ਰਿਸਮਸ। / میری کرِسمس (merī krismas - not used) and ਨਵਾਂ ਸਾਲ/ਵਰਾ ਮੁਬਾਰਕ। / نواں سال، ورہا مبارک (navā̃ sāl/varā mubārak)
Raotongan: Kia orana e kia manuia rava i teia Kiritimeti e te Mataiti Ou
Romanian: Crăciun fericit şi un An Nou Fericit
Samoan: Ia manuia le Kerisimasi ma le Tausaga Fou
Sardinian: Bonu nadale e prosperu annu nou
Slovak: Veselé vianoce a Štastný nový rok
Spanish: ¡Feliz Navidad y próspero año nuevo!
Swahili: Krismasi Njema / Heri ya krismas -- Heri ya mwaka mpya
Swedish: God jul och gott nytt år
Tahitian: Ia orana no te noere and Ia orana i te matahiti api
Thai: สุขสันต์วันคริสต์มาส และสวัสดีปีใหม่ - (sùk săn wan-krít-mâat láe sà-wàt-dee bpee mài)
Tibetan: ༄༅།།ལོ་གསར་ལ་བཀྲ་ཤིས་བདེ་ལེགས་ཞུ། - (Losar La Tashi Delek - Happy New Year)
Tongan: Kilisimasi fiefia mo ha ta'u fo'ou monū'ia
Ukranian: Веселого Різдва і з Новим Роком
(Veseloho Rizdva i z Novym Rokom)
Xhosa: Siniqwenelela Ikrisimesi Emnandi Nonyaka Omtsha Ozele Iintsikelelo
Yiddish: אַ פֿרײליכע ניטל און אַ גוטער נײַער יאָר - (A freylikhe nitl un a guter nayer yor)
The above list was a sample of a longer list from Omniglot, a site dedicated to languages from around the world. Visit their site for more languages including pronunciations. They also made the following note: Christmas is not universally celebrated and there are a number of different dates for Christmas and New Year depending on which calendar is used. Orthodox Christians who use the Julian calendar, for example in Russia and Serbia, celebrate Christmas on January 7. Another collection of phrases for the holidays can be found here. Also check out this link on Christmas Around the World.
December 25, 2011 in America The Free, Belize, Europe, Fiji, Holidays, Israel, New England, New York, On Africa, On Australia, On China, On Costa Rica, On East Africa, On Fiji, On France, On Germany, On Guatemala, On India, On Italy, On Japan, On People & Life, On South Africa, On Spain, Reflections, San Francisco, South America, Travel, United Kingdom, WBTW | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack
June 14, 2010
Social Media on a Sunday Afternoon: Only in the Bay AreaYesterday afternoon, I was having a smoothie with a friend from out of town near San Francisco's Delores Park. He is a technology entrepreneur who had an exit a few months ago and is now exploring ideas for his next gig. He said to me as I was checking into Foursquare: "I use it, I like it, I get it, but I use it as more of a social experiment. I already know where the friends I really care about are and don't need Foursquare or Gowalla for that." Or something to that effect.
He sees the real value which he feels is still untapped, is giving people a more targeted and relevant way to meet up with people you don't know, whether its for dating or new friendships. Foursquare doesn't solve that or at least I wouldn't want it to in its current form. That said, there are dozens of people who try to connect with me on Foursquare daily who don't know me, have never met me nor are likely to. It feels like stalking behavior and frankly, if they don't know me, I keep thinking - it's not Facebook, it's not Twitter, it's not MeetUp, it's not a dating service - get a life people.
While I don't entirely agree with my pal, the real value to me is when I'm at an event. Look at the tremendous benefit from geo-location services and sentiment at SXSW this year.....Twitter addicts used Twitter & Gowalla more during the week since it made more sense to and after they returned home, continued with their typical Twitter usage patterns. Sadly I did both.
For the most part, I don't find Foursquare as useful in my own city as I do when I'm traveling and often discover a friend is in town the same time I am, and in fact may be a few blocks away. Before he finished his sentence and within two minutes of my "check in", I received a text message from a friend of mine who was lounging in the park across the street from the cafe where we were sipping away at our smoothies. He was with a group of friends and would I like to stop by? And, oh btw, they were doing a social media experiment. Come participate.
Curiosity set in so off we went. Ten minutes later, we found them under an umbrella on a blanket with a massive wedding cake in the middle, covered with flowers. There was a large shopping bag sitting on the blanket with a sign that said "Want a piece of cake?" Their friends, who were honeymooning in Belize had a hashtag set up which they were tracking from....yes, Belize. As for the exercise, people stopped by, had a piece of cake and said kudos & congrats on Twitter using this particular hashtag. It was a fun and creative exercise using social media to send love and congrats through a "device" to people you never met sitting many miles away on a beach.
I had a piece of their wedding cake and said hello. How? Foursquare met text messaging which met a phone call which met Twitter using a hashtag which met a bunch of folks in Belize which then hit Facebook updates all in a matter of ten minutes. Only in the Bay Area my friend, only in the Bay Area.
September 09, 2006
Belize Children Playing
A handful of precious shots I snapped in Belize recently.
September 07, 2006
Coppola’s Shell Phone
The Belize equivalent of the Bat Phone. Each of Francis Ford Coppola’s Belize resort guests receive one in their rooms to communicate with the front desk.
A few shots of his stunning property along the edge of Belize’s coast below
Charming, authentic Flores, enticing is its entrance from the bridge that connects its center to the surrounding strip, which lay sprawling in lush green hills. What a welcoming sight – and feel – after Belize City, for all of its cultural and colorful offerings, lacks the kind of soul and warmth found in nearly every nook of Guatemala.
Perhaps I’m just more comfortable on third world soil that smells and behaves like what it is rather than trying to be something its not. With it often comes a complicity and tenderness that the 1st world lacks and Belize, doesn’t really have much of either.
Sure the coastal villages of Placencia and Dangriga have a distinct personality and Creole drumming can be heard in either at certain times of the year. Off-season is more ghost-town like however than the Jersey shore in January.
And sure, I’ll revel in the memory of seeing manatee close to the shore of Coppola’s resort on my last day, the same morning I was thrown off balance by a five foot iguana, only moments after I swam over the most beautiful starfish I’ve ever seen.
I found kindred pals in bartenders Noel and Jacob, who laughed at my hesitation to hoist the bright orange starfish onto the handmade rock table which faced the sea. Using a rake, I reversed the motion to bring him back to his rightful home before the blazing sun dried him up and ultimately took away his life source.
The day before that, I finished two books cover-to-cover in a bright turquoise knit hammock, hung between two palm trees no more than four feet from the water’s edge at high tide. Freshly blended mango and papaya in a plastic cup sat between my legs and coconut flesh rested in the palm of my left hand, which I nursed while my right hand slowly turned the pages.
The pace and tone of off-season seaside Belize was what my body needed after days of town excursions, village markets and jungle hikes in the highlands.
Placencia’s big night out of the town was Sunday, when the entire village showed up at a local beach bar to dance or sway, depending on how much tequila you drank, to a Carribbean-style band that played a mix of Reggae-style hits and 1970s rock.
Two blocks away, the Seahorse Internet café, which is run by two young Belizian boys on the verge of becoming men, played soul and hip hop, which echoed into the night. They just integrated Vonage and were offering 15 minute calls to the U.S. for $2.50 and an hour online for $4.00.
Of the eight PCs available, the only one which grinded to a half after ever refresh was the one which still housed Internet Explorer as its default, whereas the twice as efficient machines sailed using Firefox.
I had to laugh as he proudly informed me that he loaded every system with Norton and Spybot, more than some people I know have at home. All of their computer skills were self-taught, as was their entrepreneurial spirit.
The food was marginal and the bike rentals at $12 a day consisted of uncomfortable bounding over speed bumps on a heavy fuel-fumed dirt road. Since we were on the far edge of the strip, the only direction was north, north or north.
I rented one a few times during my stay, my favorite being a girly pink bike with a bell that didn’t work, a large wire basket in the front and foot breaks, something I haven’t experienced since Africa many moons ago, and before that, when I was ten in upstate New York.
It was thundering hot during every ride, so in addition to factor thirty, I wore a colonial looking straw hat with a fashionable black ribbon, made and purchased in Sydney Australia.
The bike alone made me feel like an Colonial somehow and Belize has no shortage of British colonial remnants, now mixed with American influenced restaurants, stores, even banks. The latter has dramatically contributed to the country’s soaring prices.
While I tend to stay clear of resort culture, particularly in the third world, discovering Coppola’s place was a godsend, for with its discovery came Noel, the starfish, and a sea green pool shaped like a pond, which devoured my body daily. Not to mention the fabulous Chardonnay on a candlelit veranda, nothing between you and the ocean except for a warm breeze and perhaps that five foot iguana.
His decorative style for this property (one of three in this region), was mostly Indonesian. Having spent time there, I recognized the Balinese tapestries and wall hangings, the sculpture and the intricate details of the woodwork.
The bathroom was my favorite public space, with fresh daily flower petals scattered in each stall and a sink where water would spout from hand-carved dog’s tongues on both sides.
I divided my last couple of days between conversations with Noel, mango shakes, green pool swims and lazy hammock reading on the porch of our rented pink and white wooden beach house, a 25 minute walk along the sea’s edge to the south.
The village lacked high season energy and the few shops and hawkers around, occasionally made a feeble attempt to sell us ‘something,’ – anything, all of which was made in Guatemala, not Belize.
I was hard pressed to find anything hand crafted in Belize although I’m certain if we had spent more time in Belize City or a rural village to the east, we would have come across bowls, baskets and handmade drums, perhaps made by some of the students at Dangriga’s Drumming School.
Belizian Terry, who I warmed to immediately, spoke of dancing and drums, and how prevalent it was along the coast, yet we didn’t encounter much of it. Low season perhaps? Female energy prevailed at Placencia’s Sunday night outing, and I relished in watching four girls ranging between 18 and 23, dance like men -- pretending to be men, imitating men and exemplifying a men's sexual movements.
To the rhythm of the music, the girls quite realistically ‘humped each other,’ and this would continue at high energy levels through an hour of five to six minute songs. Never showing sign of fatigue, it was amazing how well they were able to mock men in such a feminine and innocent way, as if they were doing nothing but building castles in a sandbox nearby. Their joy was addictive and electrifying and their ability to entertain and engage was remarkable.
I reflected on all of my Belize experiences as I strolled through Flores, the closest main town to Guatemala’s Tikal jungle. My traveling companion and I both agreed that Flores aired an eclectic mix of Latin America and the Mediterranean architecture, both in shops and restaurant fronts. Some faced Lake Peten Itza, where fish was abundant on nearly every menu, as were Guatemalan ‘comida tipicas’ (typical dishes), and salads con tomate y hongo omelets. Its coffee was worth the dose of caffeine, even if you avoid it in your regular life.
The leisurely stroll reminded both of us that the end to our journey was not only evident, but close, and left us with that looming feeling when you know a fabulous thing is about to end. The promise of 1st world chaos and tension on every street corner within a matter of days.
“I’m over here,” one voice says while the other fights the voice and says, “I’ll keep this life, thanks…..” While the pace picked up slightly in the last couple of days, it was still Guatemala, so reserving energy was more evident than expending it.
September 06, 2006
Getting to Belize
We opted to take several flights rather than make every journey an overland one, mainly due to shortage of time and wanting to hit both Belize and Guatemala in one trip. So, it was off to Belize City on Maya Air, a local airline where the majority of its puddle jumper aircraft sat no more than 12.
It is always refreshing to be reminded that we cannot and must not take anything for granted. A wonderful example of this is seeing the innocent eyes and excitement of a child or friend who sees a bird for the first time or embarks on their first plane ride.
Ray had never been in a small prop plane before and the fact that it was a commercial flight, added to his delight. His eyes darted from left to right, as he wore the widest smile since we left San Francisco, a smile which lasted for several hours after we landed in Belize……..frankly, a godsend after the angst we experienced in Flores before we left.
Security was awkward and tense, stricter than LAX, and reasons were not well explained. While the London events of a few weeks ago have affected the movement of every traveler, security differs substantially depending on location.
Strange to think of a small Guatemalan town in the middle of the jungle as high risk, yet Flores must have received the Washington memo in bold letters. Like other airport signs around the country and world, the ‘new’ allowances were listed as you entered the check-in point, and included the familiar liquid substances like toothpaste, shampoos and lotions.
As I pulled out my ticket, two batteries popped out on the Mayan Air counter. When the only gate agent who spoke marginal English informed me that batteries were not allowed, it started to go downhill and didn’t end until there was nothing in my knapsack bag but a travel pillow, three books, my sunglasses and Gortex jacket.
Not allowed according to these Maya Air agents was a mish mash of items which held very little logic in this small village, only minutes away from a one run-way airstrip.
I was informed that nearly everything would be confiscated if I did not transfer them, including my Nano iPod, cameras, metal barrettes, a spoon, binoculars, batteries, films, and all of my pens. I value the caution but not the absurdity.
Their system was so sensitive that it picked up my beaded necklace with a microscopic sized metal clasp. One would think that LAX and NY’s system might up their sensitivity monitors under the current conditions, but perhaps they didn’t receive the same Washington memo.
September 05, 2006
The Bargaining Process
Bargaining, which is an integral part of life in any third world country, equated to conflict for my traveling companion Ray, who although has traveled extensively in the U.S. (every state by foot, bike and road) and in Europe, was new to developing country life.
I learned to haggle long before I reached my teens, so in environments like third world markets, shops and hotels, bargaining is a natural and integral process for me, as much so as it is for my male cousins who control their TV remotes on auto-pilot.
We had several interesting conversations about the ‘newness of it’ – for him – and the impact that this ritual has for people on both sides, over time. The result of this dialogue brought me back in time to several occasions where I hooked up with a new traveler for a day or two, during which I would observe their negotiating skills, adopt a few tricks and leave others.
I also thought about who some of these people I corresponded with for years after our first encounter, had become in their prospective first world countries today. How many who are stuck in patterns in their professional lives, played out the same ones in the beginning of their lives so many years ago.
Photos from Belize & Guatemala
September 02, 2006
Buenas Dias Natural Wonder
Of all the global wonders and regions of pleasure, central and southern America is a recent discovery – the last of the continents I’ve had the fortune to explore. Asia and the Middle East were accidents, Africa and Europe were musts, and Australasia was a by-product of central Asia, as was India.
Costa Rica, which I wrote about at great length here, was so intoxicating – largely due to the wildlife, rainforests and kindness of its people, that I quickly developed a hunger for more. Africa was a bit that way too.
Have you ever felt a need to go somewhere for no particular reason, or at least not one you can readily identify? In recent years, Guatemala, Peru and Belize have been vivid daytime images and brightly illuminated movie scenes in my not quite dawn dreams.
When I would imagine a future memory, it went something like this…..
-----the early morning dew was moist, but slowly on its way out as I made my way through the rainforest, taking in every sound of early morning wildlife, particularly the birds, which were a reminder I was about to experience a natural presence like no other.
The mist remained dense, its texture heavy, so much so that you wonder if you will find your way back to camp – or even a village nearby. Then, suddenly, although the sun was not quite ready to break, the mist begins to slowly but steadily rise.
Like a soldier demanding attention, its silence, yet deliberate movement to a new-found beauty mysteriously commands your presence. I sit down at once on a nearby ridge. The magic is immediate as the entire morning jungle wakes before my eyes, the mist opening up to a lush green tropical forest on every side of me. Embraced by this natural wonder, I feel like there is nowhere to go…………nowhere I want to--------
September 10, 2004
Chrichton on Travels
Chrichton nails it. I have often referred to this quote over the years when I've "lived on the road" for months at a time or during a transition like this one. May the current direct experience last for months and months. I had forgotten just how drab the "comfort zone" really is.
"Often I go to some distant region of the world to be reminded of who I really am. There is no mystery about why this should be so. Stripped of your ordinary surroundings, your friends, your daily routines, your refrigerator full of your food, your closet full of your clothes- with all this taken away you are forced into the direct experience. Such direct experience inevitably makes you aware of who it is that is having the experience. That is not always comfortable but it is always invigorating." Michael Crichton - Travels