Sunday, June 26, 2005

The Preview of Hell

Only a nomadic people such as the Turks (who were once from Central Asia) would come up with a saying that "Travel is a foretaste or preview of hell". In the time of the ancients, when the known world for the West is the Mediterranean and for the East is China, leaving these regions is like taking an intergalactic trip to places God knows where.

Along the Silk Road or the Pearl Way brigands and bandits and pirates abound. It was a real possibility that you won't get to your destination in your physical body. (But of course the soul can get anywhere, right?)

The trappings of travel modernity started with the Industrial Revolution with the invention of steam trains, followed by the internal combustion engine that made possible the automobile and the aeroplane. This trend towards fast and safe travel (actuarists know that there is a bigger chance of being hit by lightning and dying than being in a jet and crashing) ended one day in September 2001. 9/11 made jet planes into cruise missiles and airport security had to be beefed up and George W Bush and allies went to war.

So we have to be at the airport 5 hours before a flight.Never mind dressing up for a plane ride, train ride or a simple bus ride (as in the Edwardian age up to the1960s) for you will be asked to take off your shoes or even more.

The Turkish curse has come full circle. Travel indeed has become a preview of hell. No it has become hell!

No comments: