Friday, January 20, 2012

Going Back

By: Sharon Gouveia
Here is some sun. Some.
Now off into the places rough to reach.
Though dry, though drowsy, all unwillingly a-wobble,
into the dissonant and dangerous crescendo.
Your work, that was done, to be done to be done to be done.
-       Gwendolyn Brooks, “to the Diaspora”

It began with a late Thursday afternoon and a hastily packaged proposal. I had a bright idea.  My work had just presented me with the opportunity to support an anti-human trafficking initiative, and to become smart on all forms of Trafficking in Persons (TIP) specifically within the Asia-Pacific region.  And I could pick a country, any country to visit and further develop this initiative. Scanning the gargantuan six foot map in my boss’s office, my proposal targeted just one. There, I said, pointing. Philippines.

It’s been exactly 25 years, and I never thought I’d go back.

Two weeks later my plane descended into the well-worn but strong beating heart of Manila, and I dreamily absorbed the beckoning lights of the bay with the perfectly complete and sublime thought of, “You lucky girl.”

But there’s more than just luck to this story. I had arrived to Hawaii on October 4, 1985 wearing a white dress, a red hair clip, and clutching a straw suitcase. I was two. My caretaker/escort and I had only known each other a short while; the one who was supposed to bring me over was suddenly killed in a car crash the month before. I was slowly recovering from dysentery. My mom told me later I was quiet and miserable. But standing right outside of customs was some sun, my sun, Ron and Carrie Gouveia.

The Philippines is a country shadowed with political complexity, corruption, proletarian goodness, poverty, and a fervent, sustainable people. Its history can be divided into four parts: the Pre-Spanish Period (before 1521); the Spanish Period (1500s-1898); the U.S. Period (1898-1946); the Post Independence Period (1946-Present). My life seems to be divided into two: Pre-Adoption Period, and Everything Since.

Gratitude is enigmatic and binding. My brother and I coincidentally arrived to Hawaii the same day, though he came from South Korea on October 4, 1982, three years before me. Every year we celebrated our anniversary; my brother would get an apple pie with candles, and I got my custard. Every year we celebrated more than just happenstance and timing – we celebrated having life.

 My Pre-Adoption Period began with an ill-fated love affair between a young unmarried woman and an older married man on the southernmost island of the Philippines, Mindanao. Now, you can ask any humanitarian agency working within the Philippines, and Mindanao is all the rage. Its fractious ideologies, terrorist networks, lack of infrastructure and poverty compose much of its landscape. My biological mother gave birth prematurely in the city of Cagayan de Oro, and according to a social worker’s report, could not afford the hospital bill. In a dirty but not uncommon business exchange, the hospital kept me until payment was made in full. It’s been said that she visited me for 30 days then disappeared.

In November 1989 People Magazine published the article: “Exploring the Dark Side of Paradise, an American Couple Takes Up Misery’s Gauntlet.” It’s the extraordinary and awe-inspiring story of Tom and Diane Palmeri, my foster parents, and their service to the children of the Philippines. For over thirty three years, they’ve run a foster home, provided school sponsorship to nine hundred children in thirty-one public elementary schools, and have opened an elementary level boarding school and a farm. The school comprises of one hundred students ranging from ages nine to twenty-five. They still have my picture above their kitchen sink.

It was Diane Palmeri who whisked me from the hospital in Cagayan de Oro city to Camiguin Island north of Mindanao, who held me, who rehabilitated me for the next 17 months. During that same time, my parents in Hawaii wanted another addition to their family. My mom hoped for a girl, and being half-Filipina she petitioned the Philippines Consulate for a girl around the age of two -- my name was first on the list. But this was more than just luck. Tom and Diane Palmeri and my parents teach me that being blessed and having gratitude are not enough; there’s work to be done.

Human trafficking is the modern slavery, and it’s a problem of magnitude. According to a California-based “Not For Sale” Campaign, there are more people being bought and sold at this moment than in the entire 300-year history of the Atlantic slave trade. Our global financial crisis has spurred two concurrent trends: 1) a declining global demand for labor and 2) a growing supply of migrant workers willing to take risks.

Every year, the U.S. Department of State publishes a Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report, which ranks governments according to how well – or fail – adherence to anti-trafficking laws for prevention, criminal prosecution, and victim protection. There are 12.3 million men, women, and children in forced labor, bonded labor, and forced prostitution. The ratio of trafficking victims is 1.8 per 1,000 inhabitants; in Asia and the Pacific, it is 3 per 1,000 inhabitants.

Last year I traveled to Dubai to attend a United Nations conference on disaster risk reduction. It was held in an opulent convention center. During one of the lunch breaks, I sat in a quaint cosmopolitan café, savored delicious Indian food, and marveled: “what a global experience!” Shortly afterward, an older Filipina woman approached me and asked in a quiet tone verging on fearful – of how I could walk around alone. How I should have my head covered, and that I must be more careful. It’s common that Filipinas are trafficked to the Middle East to work as domestic helpers, and I felt sickened with helplessness. Simply being appreciative of my own lot felt to be the most benign act.

The Philippines has been placed on a Tier 2 Watch list, which means its government does not fully comply with the minimum standards but are increasing efforts toward compliance to global anti-trafficking regulations. The Philippines is a source country, a transit country, and a destination country for men, women, and children exploited into forced labor or prostitution. Child sex tourism remains a serious concern, and according to the State Department’s TIP report, there’s never been a conviction for labor trafficking offenders. This raises alarm considering the millions of Filipino overseas workers and the latitude for exploitation.

Despite these numbers, there are many local NGOs and government programs focusing their efforts on the “3P” Paradigm (prevention, prosecution, and protection). From increased monitoring of mail-order bride businesses, to advocacy and information campaigns on child labor and sexual exploitation, to the 2003 Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act issued by the Philippines government broadly defining trafficking and all its forms in addition to penalties, to counseling hotlines, to rehabilitation shelters and/or halfway houses specifically located at ports, and to reintegration and repatriation programs for the victims back to normal life and to “normal business.”

There’s work to be done, to be done, and being done. I really wish I could say something cathartic and visually memorable about what I did in Manila, apart from meeting those on the ground actually doing the good work and championing human dignity in a “spirit of emancipation and with fierce urgency.” It was a privilege to meet them. A privilege to work where I work. To have the opportunity to become smart on human trafficking. To have the opportunity. To have.

There is nothing like flying into Honolulu International Airport. Passengers fling open the window shades like excited children, flooding the plane with warm Hawaiian sunshine, and as the plane descends, your eyes hungrily traverse the ocean meeting the white beaches, meeting the mountains, and it’s like wham! Internal homeostasis.

 I called my dad while disembarking. We were nearly an hour delayed, and he is a very punctual man.  I imagined him pacing. Post-colonial theorists would term my entire trip as circular migrancy. A re-assemblage of self. But here is how I see it.

I arrived back into Honolulu on September 17, 2010 clutching TIP information packets. I was neither quiet nor miserable. And right outside of customs there stood my dad, with a broad smile and a bigger hug, and the feel, the fierceness of home.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

My Top 10 ...

Happy New Year, dear loyal blog readers; it's that time again for my Beginning-of-the-Year Promulgation entitled "Resolutions 2012." Okay, okay, so I realize this entire exercise is a self-serving process, but um, let's be real: my entire blog is self-serving. I often cheer myself up clicking through the years by blog post and photo. So what are resolutions anyway? To provide a sense of re-directed purpose? Reaffirm one's self-determination? Become a better person?

Of course for all of the above, but it also panders to my list-making complex.

1. Add more friends -- here on earth, not Facebook.
About a couple years ago I decided I needn't any more friends. I figured about 50 in my inner circle were enough, and 100 outliers were definitely enough. But what is enough, and what the hell was my problem?

2. Enlarge Vocabulary.
Since working for the government, my ever-declining diction and syntax even make Harold Bloom cringe. I will begin learning a new word every day; for instance, "Does this outfit make me look like a zedonk?" (ze·donk/noun: the offspring of a zebra and a donkey/origin: 1970-75).

3. Skydive.
This is a mathematical carry-over from last year; I officially carry-over dangerous adventure. Take that life equation! I'm hoping to make this leap of faith and fun with my boyfriend, Jack (oh yes, new development since my last blog post of April 2011).

4. Reduce Debt.
But I really mean it this time. It means less salted caramel macchiatos, no more lonely-nights' binge shopping on Etsy or E-bay, and less visits to my beloved Ross, because I should really just dress-for-nothing.

5. Believe in change like I did in 2008. Cast my vote.
Most know I dislike ill-informed political confrontation, though I appreciate educational political debate. "I would argue that the most powerful voices of change in the country, from Lincoln to King, have been those who can speak with the utmost conviction about the great issues of the day without ever belittling those who opposed them, and without denying the limits of their own perspective." (Barack Obama) Perhaps our President may have lost some of the eloquence and style he possessed while campaigning, but he has not lost that substance, especially through the difficult and complex choices he has made as America's leader. I've been watching closely.

6. Get back to 2009 weight-level.
I want my face to look heart-shaped, not round.

7. Rely on good-old-fashioned memory and intellect before my Blackberry's Google.

8. Just one more tattoo.
As of this posting, I'm leaning toward a tribal phoenix design of black and red. It'll likely be placed in between my Cagayan de Oro and Kailua, Hawaii latitude and longitude coordinates.

9. Be near and next to people I love.
"To live in this world, you must be able to do three things: to love what is mortal, to hold it against your bones knowing your own life depends on it, and, when the time comes, to let it go, to let it go." (Mary Oliver)

10.  Defy the Mayan Calendar and the apocalyptic end of Dec. 21, 2012 -- and live.
But in the event of a solar shift, Venus transit, and violent earthquake, I've been assured by Jack that he'll hoist me over his shoulder and make a run for it, so I've got a pretty good shot at living. I've made it clear, however, that if a zombie attacks and I'm bitten, he has permission to shoot me.

I have more serious resolutions like cook more, eat out less, sell my gold, watch more of The Daily Show, write letters to Congress and United airlines, but that's for the rest of this year's blogging adventures.

Happy 2012, everyone. We'll make it to Dec. 22.

Monday, April 18, 2011

España: The Original Motherland

Let it be said that my traveling Mary saved the trip to España until my visit, and I'm ever grateful. We should pilgrimage to the Motherland together, the two Americanas: one well versed in the Spanish language and Latina culture (and a Mexican accent/style), and the other with a traditional Spanish language background and a nearly all-consuming love for Federico García Lorca, poet of Spain, and equally for manchego cheese.

So how to narrow down the cities to visit in one of Europe's most exotic countries rich in drama and diversity -- Barcelona or Madrid? Four years studying under Señora Slate (a slightly more traditional Spanish teacher, most of our textbooks contained cultural references to Madrid) really influenced my final decision. A first visit to Spain should be to the capital.  Madrid is such a beguiling mix of stirring and curious traditions, history, architecture, energy, and most of all -- passion. This city knows how to live.

Madrid has a centre circled by barrios (neighborhoods) each with distinct personality. You go to Puerta del Sol (Gate of the Sun) amid busy foot traffic of madrileños and tourists -- an important crossroads to other barrios and also called the physical and emotional heart of Madrid; La Latina for tapas, Huertas for full volume until 6 a.m., Malasaña for shopping, and so forth.

Our hotel was located very central, a block from one of the most convenient metros in the world, and adjacent to stripper bars with large Russian men standing outside, an Asian hair salon, an Indian restaurant, and a police station. Drama and diversity, no?

We'd always pass the policemen standing outside their doorway, and after a few days of observation, Madrid policia are the most handsome of Spanish men.

Plaza Mayor is a stately plaza and for centuries has been the centerpiece for Madrid life from the Spanish Inquisition in the 1700s to 50,000 people crammed into the square for bullfights in the late 1800s.

Apparently, after a bullfight tapas bars serve bull's tail (recommended with a glass of wine to erase the mere thought).

It  certainly was alive and busy everytime we passed, and its tall arches offered beautiful views into other parts of the city.

Did you know that Madrid has the most trees of any European city?

Here is Chewbacca (another streetperformer) by the heraldic symbol of Madrid of the Bear and the Madroño Tree, which is essentially a 20 ton statue of a bear eating fruits from a strawberry tree. The official name of the statue is "El Oso y El Madroño."  The female bear symbolizes the fertile soil of Madrid, and the tree symbolizes the aristocracy.

Once saw this in my highschool Spanish textbook --
 and now fulfilling that dream: eating chocolate with churros in Plaza Mayor.

Another reason to be grateful you're American: walking around Spain there are many street performers and vendors -- similarly but not necessarily related, the unemployment rate in Spain is 18%, and 15% in Madrid.

A little history on Spanish tapas: in the time of traders, pilgrims, and journeymen, inkeepers were concerned about drunken men on horseback setting out from their village, so they developed a tradition of putting a "lid" (tapa) of bread with a small piece of meat or cheese atop a glass of wine or beer. Partly to keep bugs out and partly to encourage eating in addition to drinking.

We retired to our beds much earlier than most madrileños, though we did keep in pace for the daily afternoon siesta (where stores, no kidding, closed for a couple hours) and ate dinner around 10 p.m., but alas age and my ill-fated cold slowed us down. It is likely we needed it!

This photo is of a cute street full of tapas bars taken around 8:30 p.m. Sun still out, wine a flowing!

Shopping itch? Baby Jesus in varying poses 

 The handy metro map got us everywhere

 By Museum del Prado


A beautiful Saturday afternoon in Parque del Buen Retiro. And a man playing guitar. Perfecto.


But it was flamenco that stole our hearts in Madrid, and not the classical flameno, but tablao flamenco, a pure flamenco uninfluenced -- of genuine Spanish soul and temperament.

We discovered a cozy, dark, smoky bar called Cardamoma in the Huertas barrio, which Lonely Planet says draws a knowledgeable crowd and is one of the spiritual homes of flamenco in Madrid. Knowledgeable crowd? Of course that is us (thanks to our guide book).

We sat at a table for two in the first row, eye-level with the dancers' feet and nearly within arms length. On the tiny black stage were two guitarists, one hand-percussionist, two singers male and female, two dancers, male and female, and just sheer, electrifying energy. Utterly voltaic.

When not literally spellbound (I found myself holding my breath during some of the dancers' rising crescendoes) we joined the crowd's roar of ¡Olé! and thunderous rhythmic clapping.

Seeing this live in the heart of Spain ranks as one of my top moments in life. It is simply something one must do before dying. And my Lorca, my favorite poet, became inspired by exactly this scene and wrote about duende, a poetic and distinctly Spanish concept for soul, which has, and will, drive all of my writing.

And the traveling itch will not stop... just like London, Paris, mi España  -- hasta la vista (until then).

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Stonehenge & Bath

England is far more than just London, and the all-day bus tour to Stonehenge and Bath was a perfect escape from the crowded, urban scene. Both are located westerly in the English countryside. Our bus guide, Paul, was a seventy-something Irishman with two jobs (as a guide and working at Harrods) and a quick wit to boot, never ceased heckling our bus driver, Malcolm, or charming his audience. He was full of knowledge and contextual trivia, and he seemed to recall an age of the authentic tour "guides," who really guided the traveler. Nowadays, bus tours jam-pack as many sites as possible within a day, but we were able to spend a good portion at each site in leisure.

Stonehenge is a marvel mainly due to its mystery. Its preshistoric culture is lost to us, and it began formation around 3,000 B.C. until 1,600 B.C. It is aligned with the midsummer sunrise and midwinter sunset, and it's exact purpose? Unknown. Of course, it's considered a place of inspiration and worship, as well as other notions for its purpose (alien landing, assembled by giants, work of the devil, the druids' return, etc.).

I had minimal expectations of Stonehenge as I was told by mere appearance it's unimpressive, so of course I was impressed. Having little to no expectations sometimes work wonders when you travel, or perhaps in general. 
That would be a sprinkler next a 5,000 year old monument.

It's like the dark clouds are looming toward Stonehenge.

We headed to Bath just in time for lunch and a good three hours of wanderlust and respite, just like in a Jane Austen novel. Two of Jane Austen's works: Northanger Abbey and Persuasion were largely set in Bath, and Jane also was a resident for five years. When you turn around the bend, and suddenly see a little mini-city of honey-colored terrraced homes nestled in green hills amid the English fog -- it's exactly what I imagined! I see why the Brits would head there for health; Bath has a charm and feeling of "lightness of being" difficult to describe.

We had lunch at the famous Sally Lunn's, the oldest house in the city, and where people (such as the likes of Charles Dickens) have had their tea since the 1600s. The house was built in 1482.

This is a freshly baked (and tart) apple pie with clotted cream, also known as devonshire cream, also known as heaven.

There are Roman Baths, Georgian Baths... 

Outside the Jane Austen Centre

 Sheep delighting in the English countryside...

It was refreshing to spend a day in  another part of historic, bucolic England -- the England of Austen, Keats and Coleridge. Stonehenge was impressive, Bath enchanting. And the writer in me felt a little bit of home while sipping a Sally Lunn tea near the ghost of Dickens' past...

In Paris... Part Deux

Day 2 in the magnificent city of Paris began as it ought -- at a nearby pâtisserie. Per my earlier post, I've been determined to eat a freshly baked croissant with une café au lait. I was not disappointed. And I didn't feel more French, just a fatter but happier American. We discovered a cheap and friendly bakery where the croissants and pastries baked merely an hour before opening, and the buttery, crisp flakiness surrounding a soft, nearly melting center can only be described as délicieux.

We spent most of our day on L'Open Tour, a Parisian double decker bus. It's a hop on, hop off tour frequenting over 50 locations including Avenue des Champs-Élysées, Arc de Triomphe, Notre-Dame Cathedral, Grand Magasins, Sorbonne, River Seine, Louvre, Bastille area (now a busy traffic roundabout since the prison was demolished by the Revolutionaries in 1789), and of course the Eiffel Tower. If you have only a weekend or three days in a city, open bus tours are highly recommended.

(Photo above is of two elderly Parisian friends holding hands, quite sweet really).

After a mid-afternoon nap, we then headed to the edge of the Latin Quarter to meet a friend of mine from graduate school for a drink. It was typical, you know, Paris. The evening sun lighted the narrow cobblestone streets, glinting off the white walls of Parisian architecture; we sat in an open café drinking framboise and catching up on the last five years.

My friend also recommended a lovely bistro, where Mary and I leisurely had dinner for the next couple of hours before wandering the enchanting maze of backstreets toward our hotel. We were seated next to an older German couple celebrating their anniversary and playing footsie. He kept speaking in German, and she kept gently reminding him "en français, mon amour" (in French, my love). Which brings me to the topic of how displays of affection -- particularly long passionate kisses -- is ubiquitous in Paris. Mary found it cute; I found it annoying after ten minutes.

We stumbled upon an amazing La chocolaterie called Maison Larnicol. We went a little nuts.

Our last day in Paris was much colder and drearier. We waited for nearly an hour in the searing wind for the Catacombes de Paris, which runs underground of the city and holds the remains of nearly six million people including some of the saints. It was a macabre sight and bone-chilling (Dad, that was for you). Actually, it was impressive, and the entire tour -- though self-guided -- had a quiet air of reverence. As we navigated the dark tunnels, sometimes we'd see a staff worker huddled in a corner reading a book in the dim light. Surrounded by passages of bones.

I couldn't exactly smile.

Skulls (below) are placed in a heart-shape.

While visiting the catacombs was our last site before heading back to London, it did not dampen our spirits nor our desire to return, and I certainly plan on being back -- perhaps in the next five years.

Paris is a city I hope you visit. There is a tenor to this city, a timeless familiarity that's mesmerizing and magnetic. Monuments and history everywhere. It's easy to navigate by foot, metro, and bus. And at the risk of over-romanticizing, I'll still say it -- it's easy to fall in love here, whether it be with a person, a place, a café, even a croissant, the environment welcomes you.  Next time, care to come with me?

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Enchanted in April... in Paris

They say Paris is for lovers and romance. They say it is for the young. And for the old, and for the free-spirited. They say Parisiennes are refined creatures. I arrived to Paris with all these preconceptions and more, and admittedly, rolled my eyes every time I heard someone remark: "Paris? I love Paris!"

Let me be clear: all of my expectations of Paris were true, but this city is much, much more. Paris, like seeing an old friend after a decade, suddenly took me by surprise and delight. Paris? I LOVE Paris.

Paris: Day 1

The French capital -- the centre -- is divided into 20 arrondisements (districts). Mary and I stayed in the 10th, République, which is just a little northwest of the river Seine. We had quite the journey into the city by 1) tiny Air France plane, 2) shuttle, 3) bus, 4) RER train into the city, 5) underground metro, and 6) by looking at our Lonely Planet map, we picked a station to stop at and in hot 80s weather (dressed in London clothes of jeans and jackets), lugged our suitcases a couple miles hunting our hotel located on some boulevard at some intersection somewhere in France.

But we arrived. And immediately went searching for food late Sunday afternoon. Our hotel is next to the Canal St. Martin, and it was brimming with life. Students sitting along the canal reading philosophy, pregnant mothers eating ice cream, older couples holding hands, friends, lovers, little girls riding bicycles singing Lady GaGa... all walks of life. We did have a classic "dumb American" moment while ravenously searching for an open café -- I hadn't eaten since 6:30 a.m.. We found a place where people were still eating and was relatively crowded, so we sat down only to wait for an hour --  faulting our lack of French and our waiter's busy-ness -- and after making the motion to eat, we soon discovered they had just stopped serving food. I was tempted to steal the non-eaten basket of crudites at our neighbor's table.

By the Canal St. Martin

The evening before flying to Paris, I had taken a one hour French lesson via YouTube and jotted down useful phrases. And that was a clever idea, if I say so myself. From one non-francophone to another, Mary said my French was quite good. To be fair there is this preconception that the French are snobby toward Americans especially those who don't speak French. And that intimidated me.

My Lonely Planet guide on France relayed (disclaimer: do not travel without one; Mary recommended Lonely Planet guides, and I've found them extremely useful, culturally respectful, and informative) that if you at least attempt to speak French, most Parisiennes will respond welcomingly. And that makes sense. Paris is the MOST visited city in the world. Who would want an American bursting into their café without as much as a Bonjour and speak English without trying? That's why we're sometimes considered loud and rude. We found that the French were hardly snobby and really quite lovely, so my advice if you're a non-Francophone -- say "Bonjour" or "Bonsoir," followed by a "Parlez-vous anglais?" and that shall take you far.

As another aside, French women have such a unique style from London women (who sport tights and flats and cut-off jeans and boots). Neither are better nor worse than the other, just very individually... European.

Following our piping hot afternoon lugging suitcases and searching for food along the river, Mary and I took a much needed nap. After I stopped by a bon bon stand en route to the hotel, of course. Then we headed to the Latin Quarter to meet one of Mary's friends for a drink at 9:30 p.m. Yes, this is Europe time.

Hôtel de Ville (circa 1246)

Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Paris

 Paris is magnificent at night. She is something else. Huge landmarks and old buildings with stunning and detailed architecture are illuminated at night, and simply takes your breath away. As we walked to the Latin Quarter, we passed Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Paris, which was a beautiful sight. And then we crossed the bridge over the river Seine. The Latin Quarter is renown for its intellectual vibe, the students studying at the Sorbonne (dating back to the 13th century), bistros, and vibrant life. After meeting up with Mary's friend, we ate dinner around 10:45 p.m. or so then took a midnight stroll back to our hotel.
Vive La Paris!

Brick Lane, Camden Shopping, and Mummies

Brick Lane is a melting pot and literally a long brick lane of many curry houses. It's a vibrant part of London, and restaurant workers will stand in doorways enticing you to enter their curry house. Nik was a gentleman and politely turned down all offers for dinner, although one covertly got passed him and purred to Mary and I, "Hello my ladies. How about some curry?"

We ate at a BBC recommended curry house, and the food was delicious!

London neighborhoods have a main shopping street called the "high street" and is typically stylish and chic. The American equivalent would be a Main Street. I've visited one of the best London Bookstores at Marylebone High Street and have been in happy active pursuit of the many shopping districts London offers. Regent Street is one of the main and high-end shopping streets in London's West End.

Camden Market. It was orginally a crafts market but evolved into hundreds upon hundreds of vendors/stalls indoors and outdoors of converted horse stables selling everything from London souvenirs to antiques to Gothic clothing. It has a mixed bohemian, punk, and grunge feel and is just really lively to walk through!

Brunch - to the left is "Soft Boiled Eggs and Soldiers," apparently a throwback breakfast dish to the British child's past. You crack the egg, then dip the pieces of bread -- soldiers -- into the egg. Charming, no?

My breakfast was the eggs benedict. Yum.

The British Museum

The British Museum has an extensive Egyptian as well as Greek and Assyrian collection. It was very impressive, and that was the first time I've seen an Egyptian sarcophagus. And not to mention, the Rosetta Stone.

The Rosetta Stone among a plethora of schoolchildren

 Next, we're off to Paris!