Sep 1, 2010

Castles in the Sand

My Nokia N97 broke on the day I arrived in Rhodes. I was surprised to find out that my rehab from Facebook and connectivity took only two hours. Walking in the sun took me off the habit at once.

Rhodes is an island with about 15 thousand inhabitants and more than a million tourists during high season. It was a risk to go there since I am the the quasi-academic type that hates everything massified.

But with such a massive tourist business I realised soon that the masses develop varieties of undercultures that include not only the sickening clubbing scene in downtown Rhodes. You can also find refreshing cafés and even a small art scene.

The best thing about Rhodes is, however, something common to mass consumption on the whole.

Rhodes prides with a history deep enough to survive the t-shirt shops and the arrogant service by these children of odyssean heritage. The Rhodes castle is nothing less than the forefather of all castles in childhood games, classical ruins emerge from behind curves on the coastal highway, the mere knowledge of the athenians who first embarked on the shores of Ixia during the Peloponnesian war, all remind of the time iconic to all westerners despite level of connaiscance.

These icons remain in our European subconscious and here on Rhodes to my joy in the conscious as well. Here this heritage is as real as we, us tourists, are.

So, this tourist trap is what I needed to reflect on my busy media life. I was reminded of something I realised before in Yosemite National Monument: a tourist trap is usually set in a place with something the tourists cannot destroy. On Rhodes they didn't build castles in the sand, they built business inside a castle.

Maybe there is an analogy here:

Should we not look more at what long lasting already exists around us and start building on that? Maybe that way we wouldn't destroy what is good in what we do when we see sheer novelty as virtuous.

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