May 16th, 2006

Egg Roll of Independence

Posted by natdavauer in Around the World

It is our last night in Asia and I am feeling nervous.

We arrived in Bangkok from Hanoi a couple days ago and I have never felt so happy to set foot in the West. Granted, it wasn’t “The West,” but it was westward.

There is a beauty in the unknown whatever it may be. This is the reason we travel. These places and ways of life that seem impossible while watching the evening news (just kidding, we don’t watch the evening news) are actually real. You can visit them. You can walk there, you can eat there and you can go to the bathroom there (as uncomfortable as that may be). To realize the couch is sitting on a very small piece of the planet and the local news is just that: local, is a beautiful feeling.

Alternatively, there is a beauty in the familiar. This is also why we travel. When you leave your comfort zone to see, smell and go to the bathroom all over the world, you start to forget home. Months pass and you find yourself arguing with a pedal-cab driver about how getting you lost for ten minutes is not an added service to the prior deal made about getting straight from A to B and should not cost an extra ten cents. It’s at this point that you stumble upon something that looks like home and it’s beautiful. It’s normal, downright boring because you’re so used to it, but it’s beautiful. A song. A Midwestern accent. A pastry.

Like a constellation, home always looks the same from home. Once you move to the side a bit (astronomically speaking, a few million miles), you realize that the stars of the Big Dipper are nowhere near each other and in no way resemble a serving utensil. They do however, resemble something new. From every direction you look at them they resemble something else new and different.

To put it another way, the background to your world view may not be flattering to the object you’re trying to view. Michelangelo’s David would look flat and boring if he stood in front of a white marble wall. If you moved around him until there was a black background his… um, features would pop out. If you never bothered to “check him out” from this angle, you might not appreciate his qualities. Um, ok enough of that analogy.

I’m nervous because this perspective is fragile. Once I change the background of my view, things will start to loose their contrast. America may be disappointing at home right now, but when I see an American flag here I think of old faded documents and curly haired idealists. When I see a cop here choose to arrest someone who he knows will bribe him because he needs a new uniform (which he has to buy himself), I don’t think about illegal wiretaps. When I walk on the bones of citizens slaughtered because they were musicians and academics, I don’t think about our president, I just think about how great home is. I know I still care about the troubles of my own country, I just don’t right now and I want to savor that feeling.

Just like the smell of the bathrooms, this perspective will stay here as we head farther west until Asia is a memory. We will carry some with us, but it will slowly erode as the faces on the nightly news rehash the same story for the millionth time¬ and turn the stars back into a dipper. We will fall into our comfortable habits and enjoy easy life for while, and then one day while eating a pastry, I will wish it was an egg roll. I will remember that this a great place but it’s not the only place in the world and wonder: what makes it so great anyway?

May 15th, 2006


Posted by natdavauer in Uncategorized

There were nights I sat in a chair and stared out the windows of our country porch. Especially when the rain was¬ distorting the familiar landscape of our big front yard, I could be found sitting in a chair watching. County Road DG wasn’t a busy road and when headlights pricked up in the distance though the darkness, so did I.

I don’t remember how may floral displays I was in charge of keeping alive in the land of the dead. My brother and I each had enough to keep us busy for a few hours. We knew¬ our stones by name as well as the location of every water spicket in the graveyard,¬ and we¬ attempted to¬ hone the efficiency of our respective¬ routes with every pass. One of the strongest memories of fear that I have is the day I completely forgot my route.

Eventually, my mom would come home and I could go to bed knowing that she was OK.

My mom told me not to worry, that¬ I would remember my route and I did.

My mom worked very hard at being a great mom and succeeded in every way. What she doesn’t know is that she didn’t have to work very hard. She solved all my problems just being there… there in the garden, bent over with a bandana and dirty gloves on… there in the kitchen listening to the Beatles on late Sunday mornings… there, in old, blurry photographs, smiling back at me.

May 11th, 2006

I’ll Be Here

Posted by natdavauer in Around the World

“Where are the Davauers?” you ask.

“Probably on a beach somewhere” I answer.

“What beach?” you ask.

Well, thanks to our friends at The Internet as well as Google, you can now login and see for yourself. All of those satellites, fiber-optics and mice have come together to show you exactly where we are at any given moment. Well, not exactly I guess. It’s more like a big blob on a tiny map. We could be out for a walk, at the The Hoffmassage parlor or well… you know. Let’s say you can see where we are - within a appropriate radius given a midwesterner’s respect for personal space - at any given moment. Located on the right side menu of this site is a little map of the world with dots all over it. You can mouse-over the dots and click on them, the latter will take you to our travel blog (yes I know, my name is Nat and I am a blogaholic).

Please don’t use Davauer Global Positioning Technology to plan any air strikes, ambushes or jumping out of the bushes to say “BOO!” missions. Try to stick to appropriate uses of this technology such as: food/resupply drops and surprise birthday parties. Remember, DGPT is not a right, it’s a privilege.

Now you can sing the praises of Mitch Buchanan and friends…

‘Cause I’m always there. I won’t let you out of my sight.
I’ll be there–never you fear. I’ll be there–forever and always.
I’m always here.

And remember, don’t Hassle my Hoff.