“ Living on Earth may be expensive but it includes an annual free trip around the Sun.”
My Top Ten Sunrises
Sunsets are easy. You are usually awake and can make a plan. “Lets have a drink and watch the sun set over the Ocean, the River, the Volcano, the Old City, the Rainforest etc.” They are usually social. Sunrises in my life are fewer, accidental and sometimes seen alone. My goodbye to a city is often at sunrise. I take a lot of early morning flights .
1. Machu Picchu, Peru My plan was to meditate at sunrise on Machu Picchu. By 4:30AM , the road into Machu Picchu becomes Disneyland on a crowded Sunday. . It wasn’t easy to find a quiet place . Machu Picchu is in the clouds. The sunrise is cloudy and rainy most of the time. Still, the eery light hitting Machu Picchu in the morning feels very spiritual. We will never know why Machu Picchu was built and who lived there but we know that every morning they saw this same sunrise.
2. Mount Masada, Israel When I was in college, we climbed Mount Masada. It was very hot and very dark. At the top, there was water and a ladle that everyone drank from (I know we didn’t have Aids then, but we did have germs!!) It is still the best water, I have ever tasted. We sat down to watch the sunrise . The guide told us the story of the Jews surrounded by the Roman army. We reflected on their choice to kill the women and children themselves before the Romans got up there. It was a somber sunrise.
3. Venice, Italy My kids and I were taking a boat to the airport in the dark as the sun quickly rose over Venice. The colors change with every light and shadow and it is truly the most beautiful city in the world .
4. Havana, Cuba Leaving Havana in darkness, thirteen years ago, I was filled with a lot of emotions. My daughter had performed at the Cuban Ballet Festival. We had no information going in and had no idea what to expect. It turned out to be one of the most amazing experiences of our lives. The dark streets were filled with humanity going to work. They were crowding the bus stops to get on the few running buses . People were selling snacks. The sun rose over the busy streets and faded colors of the buildings. It sparkled off the water hitting the Malecon ( sea wall) and shined on the old cars from the fifties. I took an imprint in my memory because I knew when I came back and Fidel was gone it would be different.
5. Barcelona, Spain was the opposite experience. It was summer and the city was crowded with tourists. As I drove to the airport at sunrise, the streets were filled with students and young people who had been out all night, dressed in their club clothes. They were all on Las Ramblas, trying to keep the evening going.
6. Perissa Beach (black sand), Santorini, Greece I also had been out all night and now we were sitting on the beach . A large Pelican stood next to us, waiting for the restaurant to open for breakfast, as the sun rose over the black sand beach.
7. Gamboa Rainforest, Panama We came into the hotel at night and everything was very dark . At sunrise, I saw and heard the sounds of the amazing rainforest for the first time. The sunrise is nature’s alarm clock. I got up every morning to lie in my hammock and have a coffee (best room coffee called Puro –I brought some home) and listen to the sunrise .
8. Cervina, Italy Sometimes a sunrise involves a decision. I was seventeen and it was my first trip to Europe. I had gotten up to ski from Cervina to Zermatt, Switzerland. We had to bring our passports. (it was so WW2) As the light of day broke, all we could see was the white of a huge snowstorm. I went shopping in Milan instead. I can be flexible.
9. Bangkok Thailand The sun rose just as we pulled up to Suvarnabhumi Airport. There was no one outside except for two monks wearing saffron robes and sandals. They were leaning up again the modern steel and glass building of the airport. The sunrise reflected them in the glass.
10. Yufuin, Japan It was our last morning and we wanted to use the onsen (mineral baths) . I was the only American in the ryokan (probably in the town) I decided not to wear my kimono and just go in my pajamas and a jacket. It was outside and very cold. To my surprise, the pre dawn bathhouse, was filled with Japanese women in kimonos or showering. It was 32F degrees and I just couldn’t shower outside. .I jumped in as the sun rose in the sky. I made so many cultural mistakes that morning (including coffee before breakfast) Luckily, the Japanese are very polite.
Brooklyn, NY When I was growing up, my favorite place to see the sunrise was to go to Kennedy Airport and watch the planes take off . After the sunrise, we would have breakfast there. I wondered when I would be a person, going to some exotic location on an early morning flight.