The only reason Europe has a tourist trade is because of its age.
European “culture” goes back a thousand years, and the Europeans have
cleverly packaged their refined barbarism in order to seduce travelers to visit
We hope you understand now that culture for Europeans is simply something
mundane which has been around for over five hundred years.
To a European, a delicious, light, dairy free Californian pizza is crass
and uncultured, while a soggy piece of dough with crushed insect dung and no
cheese is an achievement simply because the recipe has been passed down for more
than twenty generations.
Rocks which would get thrown through windows as pranks in the New World are
protected by preservation experts and billed as tourist attractions in the Old.
Only in Europe would someone hand over a few days’ salary to use a
washcloth once soiled by Shakespeare and kiss a stone (the Blarney) that isn’t
even that attractive.
An ape by some stroke of good fortune escapes from his cage and journeys to a
new world where food is cheap and the regulations are few.
Would it make any sense for this ape’s children to later pay thousands of
dollars to visit dad’s old cage for several weeks and marvel at all the
attractions his captors highlight?
By the same token, why should you, oh enlightened one, return to the lands which
your ancestors fled or by which they were persecuted?
It’s irrelevant if you’re African, Asian, North American, South American,
or Australian. Europe once defiled
your lands, drained your gold supplies, and mocked your religions.
Must you now go back and let the Europeans exploit you some more, letting
them make fun of your accents, your clothing, your lack of sophistication?
Life is all about soaking in as much as you can as cheaply as you can.
What better place to do this than a Chinese buffet?
If you shop around, you can get over twenty dishes for less than the cost
of a cup of coffee in Europe.
Just choose the right buffet -- dishes should be a mixture of
Shanghainese, Cantonese, Mandarin, and Hokkien -- and you’ll get more variety in
a ninety-minute gorge than you would in a year in Europe.
Life is a smorgasbord. Such choice.
Don’t let life pass you by.
Experiment with those buffets while you still have your sensory perception.
You couldn’t be living in better times.
Today, the smorgasbord of life can come to you.
Many Chinese restaurants will deliver.
Here’s to those plane tickets you won’t have to buy!
Observing the stars through the gaping hole in the roof of his dilapidated shack
28 September 1998