I sit by myself in a corner, my faded and stained khaki zip-offs and sneakers contrasting with the cosmopolitan decor. I imagine I’m an international food critic or writer for Lonely Planet as I listen to an audiobook and sip from a glass of Casa Silva. I am a foodie -- one of my few indulgences, other than kink and body work, that highlights my hedonism. I relish my private dinner. I don’t know that I would have enjoyed it more if I had to navigate the social complexities of sharing it with a partner. I would have -- at minimum -- worn different pants, lest I reflect shame on someone better groomed.
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When Hiram Bingham slashed his way through the jungle to this place on July 24, 1911, he found two local families still living in the city. They were growing food in the terraces. As is the way of most “discovered by European stories,” he did not truly find Machu Picchu. He merely exposed it to the world. The locals knew, and kept the secret from the Spaniards for 500 years.
My main reservation about travel classes is the carbon footprint we create by our activities when we do these classes, particularly flying. My purpose of this email is not to make you feel guilty but instead to inspire you to make the most out of the footprint that we left behind by doing this trip. We have discussed many of the major anthropogenic impacts on this glorious reef system. In addition, many of you have taken other environmental studies classes from me. We know that there are many environmentally based existential threats to humanity. Based on what I have seen in the scientific literature, we can realistically expect to keep the warming of earth's surface temperature to about 3 degrees centigrade.
In Qorikancha, a temple/museum/cathedral, I learn that the Spanish built the Church of Santo Domingo over-top the Incan Temple. Two earthquakes brought part of the church down. The masonry stone and arches crumbled. In the aftermath of the quake, the foundations of the Incan temple stood prominent and proud among the rubble.
I’m jaded. I’ve moved, on average, once a year for the last ten years. I’ve spent four of the last ten years living abroad. Some of the students have asked me how many countries I’ve been to and it took me more than a minute to figure it out. I’m still not sure if I’ve remembered everywhere I went in Europe. Does flying through connecting airports count?