Sunday, March 30, 2008

Travel: Food for Our Learning Machines (Our Brains)

As I was consulting the map for the upteemth time in Sydney, I was thinking about standing on my head to get a more realistic view of where I wanted to walk next. I began thinking about how good traveling is for our brains. I walked miles and miles (or km and km) everyday. I know that's good for me. I read maps (straightforwardly or on my head). I planned ahead--where would I go, what did I want to see, where would I be likely to have lunch or dinner, what would I do, what did I want to accomplish? My goodness! I was using those executive function skills to excess.

And Sydney was great! I went to all the museums and especially enjoyed the Aboriginal art. I walked around Darlinghurst and Paddington and went to lots of great galleries and shops. I ferried over to Manly and took the bus to Bondi Beach. I then walked the Spit Bridge to Manly walk (10 km) and the fabulous Bondi Beach to Coogee Walk, one of the great walks in the world.

My favorite: the rockpools. I felt like Burt Lancaser in "The Swimmer." Haven't seen that one? Get it from Netflicks. He relived his life swimming pool to swimming pool in Westchester County, NY (where I used to live). The Rockpools are the swimming pools that have been built into the rock formations along the coast of Sydney. They typically have two concrete walls built into the rocks that then form a pool, anywhere from 20-30 meters to 50-60 meters. They're all salt water pools. The tide washes over and refreshes the pool with a few new fish every day. I love these pools. With my goggles on, it's like the best snorkeling in Hawaii. There are 26 of them around Sydney. Why in the world doesn't the rest of the world have these? They are wonderful! I roamed around Sydney, swimming from pool to pool along my walks. Fabulous.

One of my favorites was the women's pool near Coogee. Although small--20 meters or so-- it was so lovely and friendly. Lots of scantily clad women and kids were jumping in the water, climbing over the crabs crawling along the walkway. I loved the outdoor shower and I unabashedly climbed out of my suit and into my clothes for the rest of the walk. Refreshing to be among the mermaids on the hill.

Everywhere I went, swimming, people asked me: "what about the presidential process?" They all admitted easily to hating Bush. But they were curious about what was next? They were worried about us.

I said, " I don't know what will happen but we hate Bush, too. We're just in a terrible mess. In every possible way."

All the men who wanted to race me in the rockpools nodded in agreement. They want things to be better for us. Because it will be better for them, too.


Mike Logan said...

I am delighted to have found your blog, and will be following along on your travels, peaking over your shoulder. I am a late life father, 60 years old, of Shane 9 and Hannah Marie, resident ball of fire, who is 3, and wife to Julie, and I need to stay effective until my last high school graduation at 84, see please find lots of good brain information. thanks.

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