Monday, June 1, 2009

Air France 447

As someone about to embark on a trans-oceanic flight, and a novice aviation enthusiast the mystery of Air France 447 got my attention just before going to bed last night. First, my thoughts and prayers are with the families. Any airline disaster is a tragedy for the families of those on-board, but I can not comprehend of how the pain and anguish must be amplified when those you love may be forever "missing".

There is an aspect to this story that I've yet to hear mentioned on the news, as efforts focus on finding the aircraft and, I hope, the rescue of survivors. Should the aircraft be unrecoverable (due to inability to locate it or it's sinking to the depths of the Atlantic) we may never learn what actually caused the incident. Air travel is an incredibly safe way to move about the world. Airlines, aircraft manufacturers, governments, crew and ALL persons involved in the operation of commercial air traffic go to great lengths to minimize risks, broaden margins of error, and create multiple redundancies in the event of a system failure. But with each aircraft tragedy we inevitably find something no one considered. We can't think of it all, and the silver lining to these tragedies is that they ultimately hi-light a previously undetected risk and marginalize that risk for the remainder of the airline industry. But that silver lining may not come should Air France 447 ultimately be un-recoverable - adding a haunting final touch to what I can only assume is tragedy over the Atlantic.

New is Out, Old Is In

I've been in Australia the last few days. We came over for a show in Newcastle, NSW - a beautiful city whose kind people I now count as friends!

Sunday I set-up camp in downtown Sydney. Figuring it's not every weekend you end up in Australia I planned long ago to explore Australia's metropolis for a few days before returning home. And you know what - I'm not a fan. Everyone's been very nice; the city is very clean; the city is very modern, but ultimately this just isn't for me.

When I was younger - think high school and early college - I LOVED going to big cities. New York was my favorite. I loved the energy, the hustle, the bustle the ceaseless entertainment and what seemed like exotic shopping.

Now the places I most enjoy are more steeped in tradition and history. Show me a museum, or a medieval church and I'm happy for days. Put me in a country whose populace is equally divided between pre-revolution and post-revolution and I become a fascinated student of the society.

So what happened? Well - I think a city, is a city. Buildings, shows, shopping - ALL of the cities in the world have it. But history is that thing you can not build into your city. You have to weather it, learn from it, hide it, re-discover it and then put it on display for it to become an integral part of your city or nation. And that's what I like about traveling now.

To my new friend Sydney: thanks for the tour - you're young and you will go far, but for now I'm going to rely on the wisdom of older places to enrich my touring life.