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Team Dispatch

Bienvenue à Paris! Welcome to Paris!
August 2, 2000

We asked Kevin to "check-in" with us from his corner of the globe, and he emailed us the following thoughts on his time with the Odyssey and his ideas about the world of today.

Map
Ah, gay Par-ree (Paris)! I'm neither atop the Eiffel Tower nor am I sitting in a chic café on the Champs- Elysées. I'm not even on the World Trek anymore. Par contre (on the other hand ), I'm down in the underground subway system of Paris, known here as "le metro."

I'm somewhere underneath all of the gorgeous buildings and famous landmarks that make Paris such a great city. In contrast to the aroma of freshly baked croissants above, the air in the metro is much less pleasant. Smells range from strong detergents to urine and body odor. Over-crowded trains cause folks to push and shove and the stress of Parisian life can be felt, mixed in among the sweat and attitudes of some of the people.

Views of the Champs-Elysées

You might be wondering why, out of all places in Paris, I would choose to paint this (unflattering) picture of the city's metro. Actually, traveling from place to place down here reminds me very much of traveling on the World Trek!

For example, the last time I spoke French, I was traveling through West African nations like Burkina Faso and Mali. Spanish and English can often be heard because of the many people around the globe that have grown up with these two international languages. The lively music of the Andes echoing throughout these tunnels is that of a Peruvian band, playing all day long.

Vocabulary

chic - (pronunciation: sheek) cleverly stylish
modernization - the act of modernizing, making current
initiative - energy or aptitude displayed in starting action
dynamism - a dynamic or expansionist quality

Others, like me, from Vietnam and other parts of Asia, can be seen passing through the metro stations too. The many hungry people, laying on the ground or sitting with a cupped hand extended, remind me of poor Palestinian mothers I often pass on the streets of Tel Aviv, and others just like them around the world. New faster, spacious trains have replaced the old, indicating the growing, worldwide desire for rapid changes and modernization. They're quick to pass and metro life is all about catching the next one before it leaves you stranded at the station.

Decade after decade, people have come from former French colonies and all around the world to live and work in Paris, the city of lights and romance. Some, like me, have simply come for a visit, whereas others have arrived in a desperate search for a better life with better opportunities. Whether motivated by dreams or simply following the course of fate, they're no longer able to wait endlessly for great changes to happen, especially not in the hands of others. They've taken the initiative to work tirelessly, to participate, to contribute, and in return, to take for themselves some of the small riches on Earth that every person should ideally be entitled to.

These diverse people strive to achieve something better themselves and for their children. This is Paris and, in fact, the entire world in all its dynamism. People moving quickly. People pressing forward. People continually moving towards the light at the end of the tunnel. The time to hop on board is now!

Kevin


 

Abeja - Great Wall, Great Trekkers! Now what?!
Jasmine - Homecoming
Kavitha - The End! World Trek is Done!
Monica - We're Comin' to America! What Next??
Jeff - Our Founder says Farewell to the World Trek and Hello to the U.S. Trek
Yang-Yang - Yang-Yang says One Last Goodbye

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