Spokane mayor focuses on sister cities

David Condon, mayor of Spokane, has several goals he would like to accomplish before his time in office is over. One of them is to visit the different sister cities of Spokane sister cities that are in Europe and Asia.

In a press conference held June 6, Condon discussed several items, including  how he has been keeping in contact with people from the sister cities.

Condon is set to meet with professors from China to look at Spokane’s universities and community colleges. According to Condon, China does not have any sort of community college curriculum in their higher education.

“They have a huge medical hub, but when they went to the Riverpoint campus, it took their breath away,” Condon said.

Condon is not the only Spokane official who has had the chance to visit the sister cities. The mayor said the royal court from the Lilac Festival traveled to Jecheon, Korea. Representatives from the Sister Cities Association of Spokane have also visited the Korean city.

One project Spokane has undertaken in hopes of connecting with its sister city, is the Sister Cities Garden Project at Riverfront Park. According to the Spokane Sister Cities’ website the goals of the garden include raising awareness in the global community, uniting the cultures of Spokane and its sister cities and creating an outdoor setting for international guests.

Another thing Condon wants encourage local businesses to appreciate the international people who come to visit Spokane and give them a culturally diverse experience that is different than what they get if they visited a small town.

“They don’t want suburbia, they want an intercultural experience,” Condon said.

In addition to meeting with officials from China, Condon will be traveling to Limerick, Ireland, June 11.

Sidebar: Spokane Sister Cities (source Spokanesistercities.org.)

Nishinomiya, Japan

Jilin City, China

Limerick, Ireland

Jecheon, Korea

Disaster leads to Greek hospitality

Advanced News Writing/Reporting
Disaster leads to Greek hospitality
by Al Stover
Kaylie Phan and her two sisters had lost their way.Phan and her older siblings had been vacationing in Greece over the summer. While they were visiting Milos, an island in the Aegean Sea, they noticed they were separated from their tour group and traveled to an unfamiliar part of the island.As they were about to panic, they were approached by an older woman with droopy and tired eyes, wearing a thick dress over another. The woman  took them back to a large rock near the beach where they met up with some of the group.For Phan, who had traveled is various places in North America and Asia, the woman’s kindness showed Phan the well-known hospitality of the Greek people. Prior to receiving help from the woman, Phan had the impression that Greeks, like most people in other countries, regard American tourists as annoyances.

The Greek’s concept of hospitality and generosity to travelers, or xenia at is it known in the native tongue, has been a custom among the ancient times when an elderly couple welcomed the gods Zeus and Hermes into their home and were rewarded by the deities for their kindness.

Although the sisters were not Greek goddesses, they got to experience the hospitality and how welcome they were in the country, despite being from a faraway land.

Another moment when the sisters received the warm generosity of Greece was when they were having dinner and could not find their way back to their hotel. Two Greek women took it upon themselves to help the sisters.

“They literally walk you back,” Phan said. “They don’t just tell you ‘take a left, take a right.’ They took us back. I thought that was pretty great.”

In addition to receiving the help from the locals, Phan and her sisters actually began to experience more of the culture and an open and friendly vibe from the people when they were separated from the tour group.

[When you’re on a tour group] you’re surrounded by all of these people from different places,” Phan said,” But when you’re alone and lost that’s when people start to lend a hand.”

An aspect of the Greek’s openness that Phan experienced when she was not in danger was men of different ages wearing speedos, walking around the beach.

“I think I saw enough men in speedos for the rest of my life,” Phan said.