Culture Shock: Observations in Altador
Hello, Neopia. This is Emilairon the speckled Shoyru, writing to you from the smooth stone streets of Altador. A sailor and a scholar, I have seen many different Neopian cultures and peoples. Philosophy and culture have always fascinated me, and so, I have decided to begin chronicling my cultural observations in this diary, which I am entitling “Culture Shock”.
However, before I begin my diaries of my travels across Neopia, I have decided that would it not make the most sense to begin my observations in my own homeland? For indeed, the sophisticated land of Altador is my home, where I live with my owner and three other Neopets (whenever I am home from my sailing, of course).
I would beg the reader to please forgive my likely biased thoughts; it is difficult to write plainly when I am talking of my own home. Altador is, in my opinion, the finest Neopian land, but as I stated previously, such an observation is nothing more than opinion.
To start my chronicles, I believe I shall begin with the architecture of Altador. Just walking Altador’s streets is enough to give you an idea of the culture of the people. High columns, beautifully carved statues and buildings, all of it pristine and lovely, are the trend in this city. The people of Altador are lovers of fine art and have exquisite taste that you will perhaps find nowhere else in Neopia. Only the finest artisans reside in this small, but beautiful, land.
On the subject of the architecture of Altador, I shall now address specifically one of the most famous landmarks in the city, that being the Hall of Heroes, where lifelike statues of Altador’s greatest heroes and others reside. The statues, whose poses might have been caught in time, have a life to them that takes one’s breath away. The ferocity of Torakor’s might, the evil of the Darkest Faerie’s soul, the gentle kindness of Fauna, are just some examples of the masterpieces in the Hall of Heroes.
Allow me now, reader, to direct my observations away from Altador’s architecture and focus in on the shops of Altador. There are numerous, but I shall address a few, beginning with the food shop Exquisite Ambrosia. One of the best means, dear readers, of grasping a culture is by embracing their culinary tastes. Altador’s beauty is only accentuated more by eating firsthand of their food, which is just as much a work of art as the city’s architecture.
In Exquisite Ambrosia, you may purchase anything from the simple, charming baklava to the superb, succulent well-decorated meat, a feast that even the great King Altador would dine on happily. But whether you eat simply or grandly, with either occasion the food will be delightful for the tongue and the soul. Only the freshest ingredients are found in Altador’s cuisine, a point of pride among the people, who farm their own food for the city. (I myself am particularly fond of the olive and feta pie with a refreshing fig ice cream. It is a delightful meal, especially when you have been away for sometimes months on end.)
I move now to Illustrious Armory, a shop that should be known to any warrior of Neopia. While Altador is more known for its scholars and great thinkers, there have still been many a fine soldier produced from its hallowed streets. Any citizen of Altador would be proud to bear the rising sun emblem that is Altador’s symbol on his shield or helmet. The weapons and armor produced in this shop are of the finest quality, each item produced with a painstaking eye to detail that you would be hard-pressed to find in any other Neopian culture. Of course, I am no fighter myself, but I can appreciate a fine weapon when I see one.
I believe I shall shift my thoughts now from the shops of Altador to what is likely its most well known site: that of the Colosseum, where the Altador Cup is held yearly for all of Neopia to participate in. Altador is not, of course, nothing but serious Neopets going about their studies; all Altadorians enjoy good sport and fun, just as much as any other Neopian! The Altador Cup, in which teams play against each other in the pulse-pounding game of yooyuball, a sport that began in Altador and has since taken Neopia by storm. Yooyuball defines the fun, dedication, and fitness of the citizens of Altador more, perhaps, than any other aspect of the city.
Now that I have written about some of the sites of Altador, I believe that it is in my interest to now address the people themselves. They are, as I have explained previously, an easygoing, intelligent, and creative lot, though you will find much diversity among them. Still, nearly all Altadorians hold the same kindness and openness, no matter their occupation.
Let me give for an example Farmer Follies, whose farm is located just outside the walls of the city of Altador. Though he is a farmer, and his speech is slightly rough, he is a good Moehog that supplies much of the fine food for the city. His farm is cleanly and well-organized, and he himself is a dedicated farmer from sunup to sundown. One cannot imagine Altador without the Follies family and their farm.
Now I must address a concern you are likely to be voicing, dear reader. “But what of,” you may ask, “the janitor in the Hall of Heroes?” Indeed, he is a Yurble that could easily pop my bubble of Altador’s fine citizens. However, I beg you to remember that that janitor is not Altador born-and-bred. It is a shame that he cannot carry the noble values of the city, and is an exception to an otherwise wonderful people.
All in all, the city of Altador is a fine gem in the world of Neopia. The people are kind, the food is exquisite, and the sites are beautiful. Just sitting at the harbor and watching the sunrise is a real treat, for it is always calm and peaceful in the city (except during the Altador Cup). My own heart will always remain in Altador, no matter how far I travel.
However, travel I must, and where my sailing will take me, dear reader, you will come as well! Where next? Who knows? There are other Neopian cultures to be explored, and I find myself in high anticipation for my adventures to begin.