WALKING IN ANTIGUA

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WALKING IN ANTIGUA

Traveling across the world, I have landed in the city of Antigua, in Guatemala.

Today, I took a walk to spy out the place. Soon, my attention was drawn to the many ruined churches. What happened? Although the places of worship had been built well and with good materials, they didn’t withstand the earthquakes. Here, the ground quakes quite often.

The city, which once was the capital of Guatemala, stands near three volcanoes: two inactive and one, called ‘Fuego’, still active. The plumes of smoke from its peak are really amazing.

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Some churches have been rebuilt in different areas. I entered one which is run by the Franciscan Friars. They assist the population in many ways.

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Someone told me that a lot of children with the harelips are born in Guatemala. Their parents take them to the hospital to have surgery, but sometimes they don’t return to the hospital to take their children back home. The Franciscan Friars help all those abandoned children.

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Keeping walking, I came across a quinceanera, a girl who has just turned fifteen. She was standing in the square wearing a long, shiny dress to celebrate her transition from childhood to womanhood. Today, a big party will be given for her. According to Latino tradition, she is now ready for marriage. She is a woman.

Ettore Grillo, author of these books:

– A Hidden Sicilian History

– The Vibrations of Words

– Travels of the Mind

http://www.amazon.com/author/ettoregrillo

THE MASTER HEALER

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THE MASTER HEALER

Now I am in the city of Pimentel (Northern Peru). It is the first time for me in South America. I spent my first day at the marketplace of Chiclayo; from there I moved to the museum of Tùcume.

Both at the marketplace and in the museum there were displayed many kinds of objects to do magic, both white and black.

According to the Peruvian witches, the work of magic must be performed only on Tuesday or Friday to be effective; if performed in different days the magic doesn’t work.

The master healer of Tùcume preserves the tradition of healing through herbs and ceremonies. They celebrate ceremonial masses using a portable altar. The objects are placed on the altar in strict order. ‘Purgatorio’, who is an ancient deity, is present in the form of a stone brought from the mountain.

The master healer cures people using his arts which date back to the ancient world of his ancestors. Is it true? Who knows!

Ettore Grillo author of these books:
– A Hidden Sicilian History
– The Vibrations of Words
-Travels of the Mind
http://www.amazon.com/author/ettoregrillo

MOSCOW

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Meanwhile, I started to get used to living in Moscow, and decided to visit the monuments and places of that fantastic city by myself. By taking the subway, which was not far from my apartment, I got off near Red Square. It was a place that I had seen many times on TV during the Soviet Union’s parades.

I entered the square by passing through an archway. On the opposite side of the square, I saw the breathtaking view of Saint Basil’s Cathedral. It had been built by order of Tsar Ivan Vasilyevich, also known as Ivan the Terrible, to commemorate the conquest of Kazan and Astrakhan. It is the symbol of Russian art and culture. Legend says that when the Ivan the Terrible saw the masterpiece, he was so impressed with its beauty that he ordered that the architects who had designed it should be blinded, so they could not build something similar again.

The entire Kremlin area is full of masterpieces. Even the walls and towers of the Kremlin are works of art. Not far from there is the Cathedral of Christ the Savior, which is the tallest Orthodox church in the world. It stands by the bank of the Moskva River. It was rebuilt after the fall of the Berlin Wall. It had been razed to the ground by Stalin, who had planned to build the Palace of the Soviets on its site. Stalin couldn’t carry out his plan, and now the Cathedral of Christ the Savior stands to signify that it is impossible to suppress religion, which is rooted in the human heart.

This is an excerpt from A Hidden Sicilian History

Ettore Grillo, author of these books:
– A Hidden Sicilian History
– The Vibrations of Words
-Travels of the Mind
http://www.amazon.com/author/ettoregrillo

WHAT IS A BALUT?

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Traveling across the world, it has happened to me to eat every kind of food. I have eaten cockroaches, worms, grasshopper, frogs, raw meat, raw fish and so on, but at first glance what I was not able to eat was a balut.

What is a balut? It is a fertilized egg, that is an egg with a chick inside. It is considered a delicacy by the local people in Thailand, Vietnam and Philippines.

While I was travelling Indo-China I came across a balut twice.

The first time in Thailand. I was in Chang May, eating at a restaurant, when I saw a pile of white hard-boiled eggs in the shape of a pyramid that were kept warm by steam.

I was attracted by those eggs and ordered two of them. When I removed the eggshell, I saw some strange red veins. “This egg is not good!” I said to the waitress.

“No, it is very tasty! There is a chick inside” she replayed.

Despite her insistence, I was unable to eat that strange food and paid in vain.

A few years went by, and in Vietnam at a restaurant a waiter served me another balut. This time I wanted to try it, and little by little I ate both the chick and the egg.

Why I am writing about a balut? Because I want to draw attention to the fact that very often we humans cringe if a chick is eaten or a nest is destroyed, but we are left completely indifferent whenever thousands and thousands of migrants drown in the Mediterranean sea while trying to reach the European coasts. There are even people who love animals, but hate their neighbor. We had better observe reality as it is, regardless of our feelings of pleasure or displeasure, taste or disgust.

Ettore Grillo, author of these books:
– A Hidden Sicilian History
– The Vibrations of Words
– Travels of the Mind
http://www.amazon.com/author/ettoregrillo

THE SUFIS

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Some time ago, while I was visiting the Church of St. Paul in Rome, I came across an extraordinary person that handed me a list of books.

It was a chance meeting. I exchanged a few words with the stranger and then just before we parted he presented me with a piece of handwritten paper.

Once back home, I had a closer look at the gift. There were listed forty-four books that ranged from The Fourth Way by Ouspensky to Confessions by Saint Augustine, from the Holy Koran to the Song of Songs. There were also listed a few Sufi books, some by mystic poets like Rumi. Two essays about the Sufis were written by Idries Shah.

I read almost all the books in the list. As for the Sufis, my wish was to meet them in person instead of knowing them only through books.

The opportunity came during my stay in Rabat, the capital of Morocco. I went to that city to volunteer. As soon as I arrived, I tried to get information on how to find the Sufis. My host family told me that it would have been impossible for a non-Muslim to enter a mosque, but perhaps the Sufis would have made an exception for me. The mistress knew their meeting place and offered to accompany me.

We went to a zawiya, a Sufi lodge. I tried to cross the threshold with nonchalance, but a person at the front door stopped me. “You cannot enter the zawija!” he said.

As the lady insisted, he said that I had to talk with a certain person before being admitted. The lady called the man over the phone and arranged an appointment for the following day.

We met at a coffee bar not far from the Italian embassy. The Sufi was tall, dark and well-mannered. He was a professor at the University of Rabat.

“Why do you want to meet the Sufis?” the professor said.

“I want to know whether there is life after death. I heard that the Sufis are mystic. Maybe they know truths that ordinary human beings cannot know,” I said.

“To know the truth you must purify your heart. Everything turns on purifying your heart. Only then you can get the answer to your question; even in this life! If you invoke the name of God, little by little you will purify your heart. The core of Sufism is ‘La ilaha illa Allah’ (there is nothing to worship other than Allah). You hold too many gods inside your heart: money, success, fame and so on. You have to drop all these gods from your heart and worship only Allah.”

Then, he gave me a CD and asked me to call him one week later, after watching carefully it.

One week later I was admitted in the Zawija!

There were people that read books written in Arabic. As for me, a Sufi recommended that I say continuously the words La ilaha illa Allah.

You cannot know the truth without a master. For a Sufi the master is essential. Purify your heart more and more and then you’ll find your master inside you,” he said.

After a few hours we all sat on the floor to share and eat together their local dish, couscous.

I went to the zawija every Saturday for almost two months, then I left Morocco. Before leaving, one of the Sufis came close to me. “What is your name?” he asked.

“My name is Ettore.”

“My name is Torabi. Will you forget it?”

“I will not forget your name!” I answered.

“Well! Every now and then say my name in your heart and I’ll say yours in mine,” he said.

Now I am faraway from Morocco. A few months have elapsed. From time to time I think of Torabi and I am sure he is thinking of me as well.

Ettore Grillo author of these books:
– A Hidden Sicilian History
– The Vibrations of Words
-Travels of the Mind
http://www.amazon.com/author/ettoregrillo

LIFE IN INDIA

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Walking in the streets of Pune in India, I noticed a few peculiar things.
The small shops open every day. The New Year Day, Sunday and other holidays don’t exist for them. The small shopkeepers open their shops in the morning and close at night. They work for almost twelve hours non-stop. Many vendors use their carts to sell bananas and other kinds of fruit or vegetables. To them holidays are luxuries they cannot afford. These people are like lions in African savanna; everyday they have to hunt prey, otherwise they will starve.
In the street I saw a barber who set up his business in the sidewalk. His equipment was just a chair, a comb and scissors. At that moment he was cutting a customer’s hair.
While I was strolling, I stopped to watch a young man who set up his repair shop in the sidewalk. With a few tools he fixed bikes. He had a knack of his work, because he fixed the bikes very well and soon.
Besides these people I have mentioned above, there are many beggars in India. Whenever I come across beggars in the street, I ask myself whether it is correct to give them a little money or not. Why don’t they work like others? Anyway this is life. We are not the same. Sometimes it is better not to think much, giving up using our mind for a while and opening our heart.
Ettore Grillo author of these books:
– A Hidden Sicilian History
– The Vibrations of Words
-Travels of the Mind
http://www.amazon.com/author/ettoregrillo