just a second

Hi Eduardo,
We are travelling into the grey past here talking about the histories of our countries. Uncertain about what the future will bring, the past has its mysteries as well. Educated here in mainly the Dutch part in the era of colonisation and decolonisation, and less about the Spanish annexations and losses on the worldly stage in those days, I am surprised to hear about -New Spain-. I didn’t know Mexico was called that during Spanish colonization and it even more surprised me that an archipelago as distant as the Philippines belonged to that very same viceroyalty as Mexico. When you look at it that way, Mexico and the Netherlands have been neighbouring countries over 300 years! Mexico as a part of New Spain and the Netherlands with its extensions in the Dutch Indies. Strange huh, to realize that nowadays? And you are right: how very, very different that tropical archipelago is from our misty swampy low countries here. How very different the lifes of the inhabitants.

The work on the photo you sent me intrigues me and attracts me. Like you (probably??) I was brought up with the catholic religion. In my case in quite a severe way: the weekly obligatory church visits, lots of sins to ask forgiveness for and nevertheless never ending heaps of mea maxima culpa! And that devil always lurking around some corner. Even my high school was led by Franciscan monks, some of them still in their brown robes and a piece of cord around the waist. As an adolescent I grew more and more rebellious against the official church with all its prejudices and dogmas. Finally I had myself unregistered as a catholic.

Statistically a non believer now I still do visit places of worship. I am that kind of person that visits churches when abroad. Temples, mosques, synagogues, wherever I am allowed I enter and participate. Not only for the cultural aspects, but also for the positive energy and mystic of those places. For the good intentions of the visitors that have been coming to these places for centuries often. They often are very inspiring places in special and beautiful locations. I still light a candle in church and there is that part from my catholic past that will never go away I suppose. (Guilt not the least of them…)

When in Mexico I visited quite some churches. I saw quite some images of the Lady of Guadeloupe. And it is only now that I learn that “Guadeloupe” is not some town far away from Mexico City. If I had known that it actually is very near to the city I certainly would have gone there. I will keep that in mind for a future visit to your country.

I wish I could have a closer look to your work on the photo. Do you have a close up? Can you tell a bit more about it? It now tells me a story about the growing distance between hasty people and their religion. The medals are in a box on display and cannot be touched and used anymore. It is a long box and you walk passing by the small images of the Virgin. The title tells me this only takes a second. You may have meant something different, I don’t know. Anyway I like to see it and it makes me think and wonder. Tell more about it please.

I haven’t had a look at the slides I made in Mexico yet. I am trying to find my slide projector. I must have that pre-historic device somewhere. I hardly ever use it anymore in this digital era. During my travel through Mexico I used my analogue camera for the last time before switching to digital.

Talking places of worship and talking seconds: I will this time include a link to a movie of an Indian temple. It is in the South of India in Tirumala. It is the only place in India where non-hindus are allowed into the inner sanctum of the temple grounds. It took us hours and hours waiting in line before we reached that golden roofed inner temple, even in that faster queue you had to pay extra for. I don’t know if it was the heath, or the chanting of the devotees around us that contributed: reaching the statue of Lord Venkateswara fulfilled me with awe, some kind of ecstasy. Among endless numbers of people we were all allowed to see the statue for only a few seconds, then we were blessed and directed and pushed onwards to the exit by the priests. I remember us being allowed to watch a few seconds longer which was real nice of them. Maybe because we looked different or had come from far away. I also remember some disenchantment stepping into the noise of rows of rattling teller machines immediately after leaving the sanctum. Without stopping counting the coins donated by the pilgrims.
Here is the link:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ze_e0ZMsgLM
It is an old movie, but when it would be in colour, it would just be like when I saw it. Time seems to have been standing still in those old temples still in use.

This I found on the internet:
The temple is the richest and the most visited place of worship in the world.[1] [2] The temple is visited by about 50,000 to 100,000 pilgrims daily, while on special occasions and festivals, like the annual Brahmotsavam, the number of pilgrims shoots up to 500,000, making it the most visited holy place in the world.[3]
from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tirumala_Venkateswara_Temple

It sure was crowded and did hear lots and lots of coins! But many hot hours and a few blessed seconds never to forget. Let me wish you a wonderful Christmas on this Christmas eve. Will you attend mass? All best to you and till soon again.

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