James Michener is a top notch author. I've read many of his books and reveled in his knowledge of other countries and the way he describes them through a story that has an emotional connection. Great reading. My favourite is 'The Caribbean' but his book that has had the most notable effect on me was 'The Drifters' which I read at age 17 and nearly caused me to leave high school to go cruising around the world.
His comment above is incredibly relevant to most travelers that moan so much about their trips away from their own country.
One country I have to give a hard time today though, is England. The issue I am so pissed off about is Andy Murray and his Wimbledon affair. Wimbledon has decided they will give the petulant Scottish lad the unfair advantage of playing on Centre Court for every one of his matches in the tournament (never before has this advantage been afforded to any player. Not even to the modern legends of Borg, Conners, McEnroe, Becker, Agassi or Federer). This gives Murray a huge advantage as the 99% partisan crowd gives extremely one sided support to the brat and puts down any talented play or antics from the opposition. Last night Murray played his fourth (out of four) match on Centre Court. The unfortunate, but better opponent was Richard Gasquet. Gasquet was leading two sets to love with some exquisite tennis. Then the crowd got on his back and cradled Murray through to a come back and win. Very notable was the contrast of crowd behaviour when the two players took time to go to the toilet. Clearly they have to leave the court to do this - the courts are grass, but for some reason it's not considered decent behaviour to whip it out and give a sprinkling of nitrates to the lush and inviting looking greenness of nature.
So it was off to the mens change rooms and to the more traditional porcelain that Murray visited to take a leak at the end of the 4th set. He was welcomed back with oooo's and aaaaah's. Then when Gasquet popped off a half hour later he was booed off and booed back on again. The Pommy idiots! They have practiced the art of getting under our skin when Tiny Timmy Henman was their ill fated and overrated, boring and irritating pseudo-champion. I can't see their status as the number-one-nation-that-the-rest-of-the-world-enjoy-giving-a-good-klap/drubbing-to changing in the near future. Thankfully this status does play itself out most of the time so it has become kind of a sport in itself for the likes of South Africans, Kiwi's and Aussies.
So England have conveniently taken in Andy Murray who is actually a Scotsman and decided that together with the organisers of Wimbledon, they will do all they can to try and serve up an Englis.... uuurgggham ... sorry a British Champion that they pine for so pathetically. Fortunately for us and in line with the history of Henman at Wimbledon (and English sport in general), the build up is just making the certain downfall even sweeter. The Nemesis this time? Aaa that would be the Spanish brute - Rafa Nadal! Can you believe that when Murray won the match last night he pulled up his floppy sleeve to supposedly expose a bicep. Ummm what was that fool? You been lifting empty cereal boxes for weights? What a way to temp fate.
- Win your match thanks to the crowd getting the better of a Frenchman not able to cope with 15 000 people on his back.
- Expose a pathetic bicep as a sign for other opponents to beware
- Step off court to find out you are playing Nadal next.
If you are a tourist in England and happen to find yourself on Centre Court of Wimbledon, don't reject their strawberries and cream, do not fear them in anyway, do not avoid the people - challenge them but above all DO ignore their custom and rather support as a true sports fan and not a irritating, spineless pommy.