Siberia or South America (A Haibun)

Siberia and South America

I remember,  I was reading, “One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich” and I decided that Siberia was a country I would absolutely never want to visit.  Ridiculous of course.  I lived on the other side of the Bering Strait for most of my adolescence and loved every moment of it. Though, I must admit Anchorage is not the northern tundra. Besides, the book was about the terrible conditions in a Soviet concentration camp…not a travelogue of Siberia.  Yes, silly of me…yet I’ve never felt attracted.  Well, except for the idea of going by train from Europe to Japan through Siberia…I first read about that train in another great book called “Silk”, written by Alessandro Baricco…the train trip seems very romantic.

South America is an entire continent. For the most part, I’ve read so many terrible things about the polical and economical situations of that continent, that again, I’ve felt no urge to run and buy a ticket.  I’ve loved to watch documentaries about the Amazon and the Incas and about so many other aspects of South America.  I’ve read some fantastic adventure stories and even a few SF novels that have had their settings in South America.  But, no, outside of in my fantasy and through my imaginatin, I feel no urge to visit that continent.

Basically the attraction that I might have felt for the raw beauty of the tundra or the fastastic Andes, has long been put to rest, by the nightmares that men have created.

travel see the world
realities of our Earth
strife – hate – war – hunger

Written for Ligo Haibu: The prompt for this week: Siberia or South America…it was requested to use the word chosen in the haibun…I chose them both.

25 thoughts on “Siberia or South America (A Haibun)

  1. I really enjoyed this Haibun and share many of your thoughts on travel. I would travel much more if it weren’t for the four cats that demand that I either stay home with them or pay someone dearly to attend to them when I’m gone. But much of my travel urges have been mitigated by horror stories (or realities). Like you say so well, “Basically the attraction that I might have felt for the raw beauty of the tundra or the fastastic Andes, has long been put to rest, by the nightmares that men have created.” This is when I’m truly grateful for the Internet and the ability to connect with people and even places without having to travel outside my safety zone.


  2. so true your words, Bastet…the beauty of nature ruined so easily by human foolishness. i like how you combined both words into the challenge. nice.


  3. I understand the sentiment and yet… i suspect you would find places and people in both these locations to cause you to write an altogether different story 😉


  4. Such a beautiful place, South America …. but the Inca and the Aztec … terrifying tales!!! And the beautiful, raw, wildness of the Amazon … great from a distance, but I can’t blame anyone for not wanting to visit.

    Loved this Georgia —


      • Hey, you feel what you feel.

        My dad always talked abt wanting to see Machu Picchu, so I guess there’s a happy pseudo-memory for me at the site. And a bit of that old stubbornness- knowing that the walking would be darn near impossible with my leg.

        Oh well. Next lifetime, right?


        • With all the things to do and see and experience in this life, and the next and the next così ad infinitum, I’ll just pass on getting obsessed with seeing everything ;-)…my oh my, I would love to see China because of Taoism and Japan because it’s the heart of Zen…but in fact if I go to these places for these reasons, I’m guaranteeing a profound disappointment to myself. I probably already visit China and Japan and many other places in this sense through my sensations and my mind…so if I should want to see a place, it should be for it’s own sake…it’s own beauty or whatever, without strange esoteric wishes attached. I’m not sure I explained that very well but, in a sense, why should I want to go to the top of a ziggurat just because some ancient priests did. If I went to Angkor Wat for example it would be to see the ancient temples overgrown with hugh trees. I have no special reason to go to such a place, no espectations…so I would probably enjoy it very much and have a fulfilling experience.


          • Want to know something really weird? My husband loves auctions. I usually don’t have the patience to sit through an auction but one day he convinced me to attend. At the “preview” I saw this crinkled, battered old “scroll” shoved under one of the tables. Carefully opened it … and it was a set of two graphite rubbings – from Angkor Wat! Neither the auctioneers nor the auction-goers knew what it was, so we were able to buy them for next to nothing. Which is good because they were so large that it cost a bit to frame them. 😦 But frame them we did, and we now have the prints displayed in the house. The frames “fixed” all of the wrinkles. The whole incident was a strange but happy accident.

            One print is of the soldiers. “Meh”. The other is of crocodiles – and I love that one.

            So I’d definitely go to Angkor Wat – just to see the artwork.

            But anyway — I totally understand – what you are saying. 🙂 Best to see a place for its own beauty – and not out of a desire to find a deep, long-lasting meaning. You may find it …. or you may not.


          • Wonderful story! And that is another reason to go to Angkor Wat! Yes, you got the point…you may find the lasting meaning or worse in the examples I meantioned you may lose what you had! This happened to a friend of mine who went to India for a spiritual journey.


          • Hi Georgia! You’re probably right: best to see a place for its own beauty and for the pleasure the place will bring you … and not for any desire to find a deep, profound meaning. You may find that meaning … or you may not. Best to let meaning find *you*.

            Speaking of Angkor Wat — here’s a weird story. My husband loves auctions. I hate them – have no patience with them whatsoever. BUT he convinced me to come to a few auction “previews”. While I was there, I found a battered, crinkled old “scroll” shoved under one of the tables. I carefully opened it – and found a pair of graphite rubbings – from Angkor Wat!

            Neither the auctioneer nor the auction-goers knew what it was … even after it was opened (!) … so we were able to purchase the rubbings. One was of soldiers. “Meh.” The other was of crocodiles and that one I love. We had them framed and now display them in the house. A very happy accident!

            So I, too, would love to see Angkor Wat – just to see the artwork emerging from the jungle.


          • Love this story and thanks for sharing it here! You perfectly understood where i was going…if your looking for deep long lasting meanings I’d suggest you look else where or as you say, let the meaning find you!


          • Couldn’t resist sharing the story of Angkor Wat! Perhaps I should use the story of the Prints for the “surprise” post. It was certainly a surprise to find them. 🙂

            As to the friend who went to India – that’s awful. 😦 I can only imagine the disappointment and heartache. I’ve found meaning from leaves scratching down the sidewalk in the fall – or leaf shadows on the sidewalk in the spring – you really don’t necessarily need to go anywhere. Even though reading Paulo Coelho made me *want* to travel – it also was a bit of a warning, too. Anyway … I’m rambling! Thanks for chatting with me. And for the inspiration!


          • I think that would be a really splendid idea, I’d love to see the prints and officially read the story behind them! Yes, you don’t need to go anywhere to find that special something that you’re searching for. And I thnk you for the chat…nice way to reflect 😉


          • I just wrote the post for “surprise” — it’ll come out on the 27th. Images of fish/crocs and soldiers are included. 😀 Why the delay? Well … I’ve been trying to do one “series poem” and one “prompt poem” per day. Now that I have “surprise” the “prompts” are written through the 27th. Now I need to get my backside in gear when it comes to the sci-fi series! LOL

            Read your feature on WDBWP — very nice!!!! :


          • Cool idea. I’ve really got to organize. Since I came down with the flu, my blogs have gone crazy! I’ve totally become disorganzied. Uhm…which feature would that be, pray? You mean Photo Finish? If so, glad you liked it…


          • Yes, photofinish. Sorry I was a bit vague!

            I have been doing prompts for WDBWP (features of all sorts, across the board!), Carpe Diem Haiku Kai, and Ligo Haibun, with a few other sites thrown in. And it gets a bit confusing. So I made a “chart” in Notepad to keep it straight.

            need 1 for 24th – nebula at 21:31 pm
            need 1 for 25th – nebula at 21:31 pm
            need 1 for 26th – nebula at 21:31 pm
            need 1 for 27th – nebula at 21:31 pm
            need 2 for 28th – (CHALLENGER DAY)
            haiku 21:30 PM
            nebula at 21:31 pm
            need 2 for 29th – haiku at 21:30 pm
            nebula at 21:31 pm
            need 2 for 30th – haiku at 21:30 pm
            nebula at 21:31 pm

            Arbitrary but helpful.
            I hope you’re completely mended after the flu!!! No fun at all. o.O


          • Doing much better…have a bit of a cough still even though I did a seires of antibiotics, but I feel good and the old mind is getting back into form. col outline you’ve got there! What is nebula?


          • The flu hasn’t hit my area yet, but it’s supposedly on its way. I’m hoping my sinus infection goes away soon so I can get my flu shot … before it’s too late! Anyway … I am glad you are doing better.

            “Nebula” is a sci-fi series I’m doing:

            Doing a rondel tonight; a serious poem based on a science story that absolutely set my eyes watering from laughing so hard. 😉


  5. Well…any doubts about agreeing with you or not were dispelled with your haiku and last line in particular! I agree! It is a compellinr, raw, true fact. It is true that the Romanticism of travel is still there, and the wonderful people are there to meet too. But the horror certainly is too. I think the provocative position you took is wonderful and interesting. Your haibun is well-written and makes its point. Controversial or not, and we are all enrichened by that controversy – not a dramatic one, but a new light on the need to visit far flung places.


    • Thank you for your kind critique and comment which I much appreciatedl I really had no intention of being provocative, but rereading my haibun I can see how it could seem so to some! Thanks again for your comment, I’m looking forward to this week’s prompt!


in shadows light - walking under weeping pines - spring rain

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