Tuesday, 16 September 2008

Sunday, September 14th, 2008

Sun. Sept. 14/08 - Cork, Ireland

The Latvain contingent consisting of Aigars, Puslana and Arturs, three young men who recently made radical changes in their diet, lifestyle and life outlooks drove a long two hours again from Limerik to join me and take part in the completion of the Irish walk. It was from Cork, Ireland that the fateful Titanic picked up some final passengers before embarking on that journey that did not make its destination. I have always felt that walking is the safest mode of transportation, the least risk taking. Fortunately our journey drew to its completion. By 8:30am a small group of legs hit St. Patrick Street for a happy finale at the city centre.

Nina, a local physician, joined us. Ananta and Premarnava, the local monks of Ireland handled the drum and kartals (hand cymbals) respectively providing that soft touch to a kirtan (chanting) which I had the privilege of leading. It was a good feeling even with the usual drizzle casting itself upon us.

Following,” the last step ceremony” to the tally of approximately 518 Kms our small walking party made our way to Tesco 24 hour department store in the suburbs to pickup supplies for a tasty brunch. The parking lot filled up quickly with automobiles each parked by its motorist to space as close as possible to the buildings main entrance. This of course means, “Let’s avoid walking as much as possible. “ At least the store is large inside and you can do a lot of walking there.

Nina reminded me that while economic prosperity in Ireland has taken hold, social complexities increase. From her medical experience the rise of alcohol intake has increased measurably. Livers are not what they used to be.

I guess we as humans must ask, “What really makes life rich? Amenities or simplicities? Disease or health? Lonliness created by consumerism or meaningful relationships? “I met one woman a few days ago who said she was going on a shopping diet. Naturally I applauded her for her courage. I hope she succeeds in her challenge.

I like the Irish folk. I found that the almost constant wetness from above somewhat hampered human interaction. Still the shamrock shines here and the grass is not greener anywhere else. It’s a fine place to walk and chant. The only thing is that a little more space for pedestrians and cyclists would be nice. I hope the decisions-makers here will have a good hard look at how alternative travellers can be accommodated. One cyclist told me, “the roads are too tight-no shoulder.” He’s right. I guess pilgrimage was easier in the days of St. Patrick before the automobile hogged all the roads.

I’m grateful to have walked on Emerald Isle from Belfast to Cork and I thank all those kind supporters who allowed this to happen. HMMMMMM! What country to tackle next?

12 Km today
518 Km in the last 14 days

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