Monday, June 17, 2019

The Seven Ages of Man Speech (revised version)

Petra (photo Berthold Werner)
If you've attained a certain level of affluence, you're probably going to travel when you retire. There are whole industries geared to people with free time and a few dollars in their pockets. Many Ivy League universities lend their imprimatur to travel often to exotic climes. It used to be that the African safari was considered adventurous. Now as you can see there’s a waiting line to get to the top of Everest (which has sadly resulted in a number of deaths). Where only scientifically equipped ice cutters attempted the Arctic and Antarctic, both have become popular destinations. Luxury ships with fully equipped gyms troll the Antarctic allowing  insouciant travelers magnificent views while they work out. For a while even diplomatically challenged destinations like Teheran and Pyongyang were on the lists of potential get-aways, with one German company even planning a luxury hotel outfitted with a golf course to cater to the tourist trade in North Korea. People do Petra, the Taj Mahal and the Great Wall. They brave terrorism in Egypt to see the Pyramids, though there are few in this demographic who deign to do a corny backyard site like Niagara Falls. In between the tourism are the procedures, the fusions of the fourth and fifth vertebrae, the dropped foot from sciatica, the prostectomies, the stents that all go with the territory. Old age amongst a certain class is like running an obstacle course with some aged voyagers almost killing themselves in trying to outdo each other in their insatiable search for exotic spots. No sooner do you return from the game park then you’re getting that hip or knee replacement and the surgeries all have to be scheduled to fit the traveI. It’s not a bad way to wind things up and if Shakespeare had been around he might have rewritten the famed “Seven Ages” speech from As You Like It to read: “Last scene of all that ends this restless itinerary is the childish need to see as many sites as possible and find a property with every amenity, Angkor What?

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.