In truth, I was seized by a secret jealousy. As a Yank, I hate to cede the top spot in a competition of any kind. I felt confident that Union Jack waving tourists would defend their honor to the last sip of bitter.
I once heard the hypothetical that if Cleopatra's nose had been shorter, the face of the earth would have changed. And I wonder, if I had stayed in a trailer high on Telescope Peak in Death Valley, how would the world be different now?
It was a spell ago -- and you can figure out the timeframe by surrounding events -- when I bickered my black VW bug north from Los Angeles to Death Valley, girlfriend Karen Goldberg at my side, a weekend of adventure ahead.
Laughter is still an effective cure. Thus, on this Island, we bend our lips into a smile more for self-therapy than for happiness. Then the tourists take our pictures and go home saying we are a happy people.
It was a place of legend called Dilmun. The Sumerians, who hailed from what is today southern Iraq, described the island of Dilmun as the Garden of Eden, the lush plot where innocence was forever lost.
It is in community gatherings and traditions that I look to understand how we might be better at bringing communities together -- not just as part of a distant past, but in order to forge a new kind of future.
Don't expect an outcome equal to the (mostly) peaceful overthrows in Tunisia and Egypt in every single country now affected by this "people power" movement. There are major differences from country to country.