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TRAVEL AND MEDICINE
Published  in December, 2019
H E K T O R A M A

 

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Link to the article. Dr. Moore stands in the center of the painting, wearing red.

DOCTOR MOORE IN ITALY

 

 

Moore, a practicing physician in Glasgow with a good reputation, was offered an opportunity to travel. Like other prominent noblemen of his day, the young Duke of Hamilton was to make the Grand Tour as a part of his education. The Duke’s mother knew Moore, and invited him to join the Tour as companion, tutor, and responsible adult. Moore accepted. The Tour lasted five years (1772–1777), and took him to the major European countries.

After returning to London, Moore wrote a book about his impressions of France, Switzerland, Germany, and Austria. The Tour also included extensive travels in Italy, and the following year in 1779 Moore published a second book called View of Society and Manners in Italy. In its foreword he wrote that those who had read his earlier book “will perceive that the present work is a continuation of the former.” In the first book Moore warns the reader not to expect “a minute account of churches and palaces because they afford but a slender entertainment when served up in description.” Instead he concentrated on “the manners, customs, and characters of the people.”

 

 

By Einar Perman

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OF STARLIT HUTS AND SAHELIAN SAND
 

Musical interlude by Sara Buck

Musical Interlude


Landing in Dakar airport, the Air Afrique flight from New York hummed into the humid night air. Having traversed the nocturnal waters of the Atlantic, our plane descended upon the capital city, its sparse lights glittering along the coast and the nearby Île de Gorrée as if lava were streaming down a recently erupted volcano. The cabin doors opened, and the city greeted us with the sound of farm animals mingled with the weight of the muggy night air, the ocean, and distant traffic, an illusion that masked the reality of the urban sprawl that surrounded us.

I lugged an enormous suitcase and backpack into the tram that carried us across the landing pad to the terminal. O’Hare and JFK seemed like urban metropolises compared to the Dakar airport; nearly empty, the building was a densely humid, sleepy village whose single convenience store and restaurant were closed for the night.

 

Link to the article. A gourd hangs in front of a green leafy background-taken by the author on their travels.
By Sara Buck READ ARTICLE

 


 

DOCTOR ON AN EXPEDITION TO THE ANTARCTIC
Aurora Australis in Antarctic waters

It is 0330, half an hour before change of watch. The sun low in the southeast glares painfully onto the bridge. Here at sixty-two degrees south icebergs abound, radar looks like a polka dot quilt, and a continuous layer of pancake ice with nasty growlers on the surface and a two meter port beam swell from a gale to the northeast rolls the Aurora Australis twenty-five degrees. No one has slept much for two days; eyes are gritty. It is a challenge to keep awake with vague nausea, so inky black coffee with TimTams are all the go. A glucose and caffeine fix. Smokers have to rug up and brave the outside bridge deck at minus twenty degrees centigrade.

 

By Bryan Walpole

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TRAVELS WITH GENGHIS
At age 80 retired Rush University hand surgeon, Robert R. Schenck, MD seized the challenge of his life by driving an ambulance 10,000 miles from London to Mongolia for charity. He wrote a book, Travels with Genghis to recount his many challenges, successes and cultural experiences in traversing 16 countries via “The Silk Road.”

Dr. Schenck, with co-driver Norbert Ertel, experienced such exotic cities as Istanbul, Baku, Bukhara, Tashkent, Samarkand, Semey, Novosibirsk, Ulan Ude and Ulaanbaator. Some of the challenges they faced included unmarked and hazardous roads, potentially hostile towns, and border crossings that were true tests of endurance. But their overall impression was of the inherent helpfulness and goodness of people. Once in Mongolia, they traveled to the mysterious Gobi desert. These blogs formed the basis for his book.

 

By Robert R. Schenck

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TAKING NOTE FROM NATURE: THE WILD HEART OF PANAMA
Link to article. Branches in the trees from a heart shape.

 

 

It is a curious country, Panama, one-third protected wilderness and nearly 60% forested, best known for its canal, a colossal feat of human engineering. Having acquired a second hand experience of the country by editing a blog dedicated to travel in Central America, I availed myself of the opportunity to explore its true heart; and accordingly journeyed to the isthmus on official business to assist in the opening of a new Panama resort on Isla Palenque, a 400-acre jungle island in the Pacific Gulf of Chiriquí.

Aboard Copa Airlines and staring into the seat-back in front of me, I mused on where and how I might seek out the heart of this country. I reflected that as with individuals, the hearts of nations exist beyond geography. They cannot be mapped or charted; they are places for our most deeply-held values, for without such values neither a heart nor a nation can function.

 

By Rachel Kowalczyk

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A COLUMN OF VOLCANIC SAND

 

 

Why shouldn’t a retired English professor devote himself to Public Health?

I fell hard for Nicaragua in the 1980s, organizing Boston academics against Contra aid, visiting the country in 1986 with Father Steve Chinlund, meeting the famous poet/priest and Minister of Culture Ernesto Cardenal, and beginning to work on a book about how newly-literate peasants (campesinos) in Ernesto’s Christian base community had started to write poetry. It was a natural fit for a lefty professor in his 40s: liberation theology, poetry, revolution, and a reason to head south to bisect the Massachusetts winter. The Campesino Poetry book was the first of three I would write about Nicaragua.

Hundreds of US citizens trekked down “to support the Sandinista Revolution” in the ‘80s. The mainstream mocked us as “Sandalistas.” Meanwhile, our Boston suburb of Newton had joined a nationwide movement of Sister City Projects. We partnered with the Nicaraguan town of San Juan del Sur, a charming Pacific coast port with a half-moon bay, raggedy fishing fleet, and weekenders from Managua. My wife and I were the first hands-on delegates, sprucing up existing schools and building new ones out in the scattered villages of the 250-square-mile township. We bought the materials and hired a master-mason, but folks in the villages did the hard work.

 

By David Gullette

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STENDHAL SYNDROME, A HAZARD OF TOURISM
Link to the article. Portrait of the author known as Stendhal.

 

The Stendhal syndrome was so named in 1979 by the Italian psychiatrist Graziella Magherini. It is based on the experience of the famous French author Henry Beyle who under the pseudonym of Stendhal wrote The Charterhouse of Parma and The Red and the Black. He described in his 1817 account of his visit to Florence how on entering the Santa Croce Cathedral he was overwhelmed by emotion amidst the tombs or statues of Michelangelo, Casanova, Machiavelli, Galileo, Dante, Boccaccio, and Petrarch. In the proximity of these great men, his emotion was so great that he felt as in a trance. On leaving the church he was seized with fierce palpitations of the heart and walked in constant fear of falling to the ground.

 

By George Dunea

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THE WAITING ROOM


 

Ndiago is a small village, and it is pretty far off the beaten track of the national highway. Most people come and go by horse-drawn carts. So the village might not immediately strike the mind as a place where two worlds meet and try to become comfortable with one another. When I lived there, I was constantly noticing little bits of my world being easily assimilated into Senegalese daily life. I was the only one who thought that “Houston” brand cigarettes in red and white Marlboro-esque packages were funny. Girls wear traditional printed skirts and ragged t-shirts with HOLLYWOOD emblazoned across the chest in silver sequins without a trace of awareness. Almost every public transit auto sports colorful stickers of Madonna’s face, Barack Obama’s name, and the Mercedes logo. And all of this with no sense of absurdity, no interest in the ideas behind the images, and no discomfort at all.

 

By Jessie Seiler

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