Showing posts from March, 2012

The Travails of Flying While Black

I debated about writing this post. The topic has been covered many times by my travel blogging peeps, most eloquently by Fly Brother  and Lola at Geotraveler's Niche .It's an issue that always comes with being a person of color in a society filled with stereotypes and narrow expectations. But two days ago, I was moved to speak out about this reality because I was stopped and searched by TSA along with my daughter. Were we smuggling explosives in our socks or trying to sneak bottles of  mercury? Hardly. We were apparently guilty of something much more sinister. We dared to walk through airport security with long hair. Now I must explain that we are of African descent so our long hair is very curly and sectioned into pieces often called dreadlocks but we prefer to just call them locs. I'm well aware of the negative connotations associated with wearing your hair this way. Lots of ill-informed people think that wearing locs is a sign that you are involved with drugs. But

Mayan Magic

The Spring Equinox in the Mayan Peninsula is a magical time. I didn't realize just how magical until I snapped this photo. No it is not photoshopped. No it is not posed. Cheray O' Neal  is feeding a french fry to the seagulls and they swooped down like a scene from The Birds. It started with two seagulls hovering around for scraps. They hopped around, waiting for crumbs, as I've observed them do many times. And then, swarms of them appeared as Cheray fed them fries. I've seen hungry birds. I've seen flocks of  seagulls (real ones, not the 80s band) soaring through the sky but I've never seen them gliding a few inches above my head.  It felt like magic and just a tad scary. Cheray had to ditch the fries before we were surrounded by a  fierce feathered  posse. I chalk it up to the magic of the Mayan Spring solstice. Either that or there was something in those fries...

Next Stop: Yuctatan Peninusula

The uproar about the Mayan prophesy of the end of the world in 2012 was hilarious to me.  Western culture always searches for absolutes when life rarely operates that way. According to the Mayan long calendar, the old tumultuous cycle ended in December 2011 and 2012 unfolds a new, gentler cycle.  I will journey to the Yucatan Peninsula next week to witness the Mayan Spring Equinox at Chichen Itza,  This sacred Mayan site boasts 1,000 years of Maya and Toltec history as well as cultural and spiritual significance. The Spring and Autumn equinox were sacred times of healing for the Maya, when day and night equaled exactly the same length and when the "Descent of The Feathered Serpent"  down the Pyramid of Kukulcan pictured above, marked the season of rebirth and renewal.  I will hopefully witness the perfect alignment of the sun with the Kukulcan Pyramid, creating a play of light and shadow that conjures up the illusion of a massive reptile representing the feathered serpent

Athena And The Athens of The South

Nashville may be famous for country music but this charming city is also known as the Athens of the South. All the universities, museums and cultural activities earned Nashville that nickname but imagine my surprise when I gazed up at the golden Athena pictured above. Looming 41 feet, 10 inches and weighing 12 tons, Athena Parthenos, as the statue is called,  is a jaw-dropping showstopper.  Tucked into an exact replica of the Athenian Parthenon , the gilded Athena was constructed in Nashville by noted sculptor Alan LeQuire over a period of time from 1982-1990. I had no idea that Nashville took their nickname so seriously but standing in the Parthenon, gazing up at Athena Parthenos is probably as close as you can get to Greece in the U.S.