Much as certain of my critics might desire it, I have not been swallowed up by the Amazon rainforest. But my ability to blog was temporarily impaired to the point of quite ungratifying frustration. So I stopped trying.
WiFi simply isn’t always quite up to standard when one is traveling. It’s actually been quite good out here in the jungle – I mean, we’re in the jungle, for goodness’ sake! – but I’ve generally been able to read things and was even able to post two blog entries, although, in the end, I just spent far too much time watching the little wheel spin.
But the fact remains that we live in a remarkable era, when such means of communication, while still imperfect, are even thinkable. And they’re becoming steadily better. Back in December/January, for example, when we were on a Nile river boat, there was a charge for WiFi, and, on balance, it didn’t really work. Which is the way things had been for the past several visits. No surprise, actually: When you’re on a boat in rural southern Egypt, you don’t really expect much in terms of communications technology. At least, based on experience with Egypt going back to the late 1970s, I didn’t. This last time, in May, however, WiFi was available at no extra charge – and it actually worked! I was bowled over. Blown away. Totally surprised.
During the period that we lived in Egypt, 1978-1982, we made only two telephone calls home. One of them, responding to a telegram from my brother telling me that my father had suffered a heart attack, took twenty-four hours to get through to the United States. I had to go to a government office to make the call; I was trying to find out whether he was still alive. The second call was to notify folks back home of the arrival of our firstborn child.
Nowadays, cell phone calls between Egypt and the United States are routine – as, of course, are internet messages. We felt almost completely cut off from home during that time living in Cairo. Today, feelings of isolation and separation are basically unnecessary. People can easily connect with Skype and so forth.
These young-uns have it so easy. Why, when I was a boy, we walked uphill to school both ways, through ten feet of snow even in July. It jes’ ain’t fair, no-how.
Written in the Peruvian Amazon
Posted from Lima, Peru