Cadillac Ride of the Desert

Riding a camel is not as easy as riding a horse.

I remember having to ride on one and rely on this beast climbing Mount Sinai in pitch dark. I closed my eyes so that I don’t get scared and listened to the whispers of the guides even though I don’t understand their language. The sound of their voice is soothing and the soft movement of the camel as it traverse the stony path calms me down. I am very much aware that we are on the edge of the mountain hiking the switchbacks and one wrong move on the cliff could be disastrous.

Trust. I trusted the camel and the guides that they will take us safely to reach the platform of Mt. Sinai while reciting the Hail Mary for this ride will soon pass.

I felt it was the longest ride ever. When we reached the platform and alighted the camel, I kissed the ground.

For the sake of our Muslim guides, I said Allah is good.

*Photo Source: Out of Eden Walk by Paul Salopek (National Geographic)

It’s Playtime

In Fatima, a path for meditative walk was built around the area where the children saw the apparitions.  It was rather a long walk.    
There were olive trees to climb, spider webs, wooded area to play hide and seek.

Not to mention fig trees thick with fruits.  Of course, I picked the fruits to eat some and oh, are they ever so sweet. 
Mind you, we made stops along the way for prayers.  There are many groups who come on pilgrim every 13th of the month to Fatima. 
This is my second visit to Fatima.  The first time, I was selected to be one of the readers for the Mass.  Me?  Read in front of them people, thousands of them, during High Mass?  Sure why not, can I put a bag on my face?  Fat chance.  
This is the open aired Church.


As for now, Fatima is less touristy than Lourdes.  I hope it will keep its rustic environment. 
Holidays Are Holy Days – Minute Meditations
We honor the Sabbath by, of course, worshiping God at Mass. But we also do well to honor it by being a little silly and savoring the goodness of his work in Creation and redemption.
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Bells are ringing

It’s wonderful to be woken up by the bells of Fatima first thing in the morning. 
Fatima church
From the balcony of our hotel room, I could see the steeple of the Cathedral.  Every hour, the bell chimes the song of El Trece de Mayo. 
The bells bring up memories of my younger days back in the Philippines.  When the bells ring, it’s a call for prayer especially at 6 pm.  People literally stopped what ever they were doing to be still and silent.  I think it went on for a minute or two.  As a girl, it seemed forever.  
The minute we hear the bells, we dash home leaving the games and playmates behind.  We go home for family prayer of Angelus.  It’s a short prayer and when it’s finished, we all say Good Evening and asked for blessings from the elders especially my Mother. 
I really love this tradition; however, we fell out of it when we moved to Canada.  As a starter, I never heard any bells here.  Most of us have different work schedules.  It saddens me because I don’t practise it anymore. 
FatimaFatima is a beautiful place where three children met by an Angel and Our Lady.  Being here made me feel childlike as well.  There was giddiness in me that was hard to contain.  Is this giddiness influenced by the spirits of the three children?  Or was it just my silliness of not taking life so seriously. 
This place is a melting pot of pilgrims to honour the apparition of Mother Mary.  There are so many miracle story of our Lady of Fatima that is chronicled in this area similar to Lourdes. 
One of the stories was about the assassination of Pope Paul when he was visiting Fatima.  He survived and it was a story about Forgiveness in Action that I posted in Blog4Peace.

Tourist in Paris

When I waited for the rest of the group to make up a decision, I stay outside the hotel to watch people come and go. 
Since the hotel has no smoking policy, quite a few people hang around outside, me included.  There was this beautiful tall lady with her brother-in-law from Dallas, Texas of US of A, having a smoke and drink.  And we struck a conversation. 
Them with their twang American accent and me my Filipino hard accent.  We manage to understand each other.  So, the common question is: What do you think of Paris?  
I was cool as a cucumber in responding: Oh, you know, just another city.  And they both exclaimed: Yah! If we have known this is just like Dallas, we could have skipped this city.  Opsey… I stepped on a nerve. 
Moving on… 
A couple of women from Brazil conversation was more like a charade since they speak “un poquito” English.  They asked me what brought me to Paris.  I said I’m with a group from Canada who are on pilgrimage.  
Brazil:  Shaking their heads slowly uttering the word pil-gri-mage???
Canada:  Pil-gri-mage is when people travel to visit holy sites and pray. 
Lucy Mar 17
Brazil:  Still shaking their heads with a quizzical looking facial expression.
Canada:  I made a hand gesture, putting my palms together in prayer like this:
Brazil:  Huh?
Lucy Mara 17 (1)Canada:  Okay, maybe this will make them understand.  I made a sign of the cross like this:
Brazil:  No, no, they both answered in chorus.
Canada:  Okey dokey, no comprendo eh?
Brazil.  No, no,
Lucy Mara 17 (3)Canada: Last charade… I stretch my arms wide open looking up in heaven….
Brazil:  They both excitedly exclaimed….Rio de Janiero !!!
Lucy Mar 17 rio de jenerio
Canada:  (Pagans!) 
I kid you not, this is the truth.

Eiffel Tower – The Tower of Love

There goes Uncle C (UC) gathering his harem to take to the Tower of Love.  
Watching UC with all these single women in the pilgrimage was so much fun.  I’m so glad he is enjoying himself.  There are a few single folks as pilgrimages, me included. Eiffel Tower
Eiffel Tower is a major tourist attraction in Paris similar to the Science World in Vancouver, Canada.  They were both built for World’s Fair. 
Well, I might as well go up in Eiffel Tower since I’m here in Paris.  I invited myself and my roommate to join the family of UC the following evening.  It will be more fun to go with the group and I have left my roommate behind for most of the time.  It’s best to socialize.  UC doesn’t seem so enthused in us joining but hey, too bad so sad.  I’ll stay away from him then.  
The evening was clear and a perfect night to be on top of the tower.  Paris at night is beautiful with the flickering of lights below.  It was hard to move on top so I stayed put in one place. 
The wind is fresh; strong enough that it makes a whooshing sound in my ear and blowing my hair in all places.  Ah, so lovely and refreshing.
Eiffel Tower2Meanwhile, I lost my companions, again!  That’s okay; I can find my way home.  Don’t know how long I stood there admiring the night and took a picture between the barriers.  
The next thing I knew, UC was nudging me that it’s time to go, the rest are waiting for me.  One more minute, please, I pleaded.  Of course there is no such thing as a minute.  I shall pass this way just this once; I might as well get my money’s worth. 
I ignored UC and continued transfixed looking far beyond.  Gradually I could feel a warm glow in my chest, in my heart.  It was growing and permeating my whole being.  I began to feel light-headed as if I was intoxicated.  And I thought, ah, there you are, Blessings. 
Blessings is what I named this warm glow in my heart.  It has been such I long time since Blessings came to this body and let its presence known. 
Thank you, Lord, for being here with me.  Of all places, I can feel you, even though I was surrounded by so many disturbances and then again another nudge from UC. 
There is a worried look in his face and then I know it’s time to go.  UC repeatedly asked me if anyone questions why it took him so long; tell them I was looking for you.  Huh?  What is that all about? 
Hmm, I wonder if he is scared of his reputation or is there someone in the group that he has liken.  Cupid here I come.  
Going down with Uncle C with Blessings in my heart.