Letters (emails) from the Voyage

This is a selection of email travel-letters that I sent to family and friends as I travelled from port to port. It includes many personal impressions from the voyage and is by no means an academic review of the voyage. I never really finished the voyage for those who relied on these emails to keep track of me. Suffice to say, I made it back to Seattle in one piece and back to Elizabethtown. The titles of the letters indicate from where these were sent. Thus the letters include details of previous ports and maybe the current port.
Greetings from Nassau

Greetings from Cape Town, South Africa

Greetings from Kenya and India

Greetings from Malaysia and Vietnam

Leaving Japan

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Greetings from Kenya and India

I'm sure you all thought that I fell off the face of the earth ... that the world is really flat and our ship sailed off the the edge. Nah. You know better than that. =)

Kenya was not a good place to send email. It was a great place to see animals. I enjoyed a safari while in Kenya and for the first time I saw lions ... up close and personal. (Not at up close and personal as the elephants in Swaziland ... ask Bob he knows the story ... but close enough for my heart to race.) I hope my photographs of the lions come out nice. It was great to get away for the four days in Kenya. It was like spring break from school. Everyone on the ship seemed to be going on a safari trip.

On to India ... India has been the most trying and emotional of the ports of call to date. It is a land of great contrast ... in wealth and poverty ... in technology and primitiveness. Chennai ... our port city ... is very dirty ... air pollution burns the lungs when we are in the streets. It is impossible to avoid the stark contrasts of the poor on the streets and the chrom plated city mall that rivals any in Pittsburgh, New York or San Francisco. I took a few days away from the ship to lead a a trip to Delhi and Agra. While there I saw the Taj Mahal and a number of other sights of historic nature. The Gandhi Museum was a stirring location ... as the students and I walked the garden where he was assassinated and learned so much about his life and philosophy. Made the rigorous travel schedule we took to get there all worthwhile. The Taj Mahal is everything the tour books and history books say it is ... beautiful ... romantic and sad at the same time.

We leave tonight for Penang, Malaysia. From this point on our sailing time between ports is short and our visits to each remaining country just as brief (3 or 4 days sails and 3 or 4 day in-country visits). Then one last long sail back to Seattle. It is difficult to say that it is half way over ... but on other days ... it is difficult to think of anything but home. It has been a moving experience to date. I've learned much about my students ... much about the countries we visited and how the world fits together as one culture ... much about myself as a member of this community and as an educator. So much for introspection.

I'll write more and in a more organized fashion from the next port.

Miss you all. Can't wait to sit down and have a chat about all of this.

Until then, Tamara

This page was created by Tamara L. Gillis, Ed.D. July, 2001. Copyright 2001.

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