Text by Patty Simon | Images by Dick Simon
I have found that as I travel to different places I start processing my interactions with locals through a “sincerity gauge”. It goes from fake hype to sweet sincerity and lately it feels as if the more foreigners one sees in an area, the gauge descends to anything but genuine. (For the record, I blame the tourists and not the locals)
I left you standing at a Buddhist temple. I remember getting an email the night before from Rox asking me to get a special blessing for herself and daughters. I spied pilgrims lighting incense and wished I could make Rox’s wish come true. So, I go up to the burning incense, look like I want some and voila! A kind older woman gives me a smile with a sincerity rating of five stars and shares her incense. I take the four sticks, just enough for Rox, the girls and my friend Laura. Surely this woman will be guaranteed an auspicious next life and my friends will surely be blessed. Ah, the kindness of strangers.