Monday, August 6, 2012

Internetless for 3.5 weeks

Well, I'm back. I think this time for good. Chez Barefoot has just completed 8 weeks of travel through 3 continents, and are about to have a house again. Exciting times!

To recap: We left our old house on June 12 to go to Conference City 1. We had a lovely hotel room with 2 balconies, one of which looked over a tram line. Every morning, Epsilon would wake up and go sit on the balcony waiting for the trams to run under his window. After the conference, we took a few days to sight see around the area, and introduce Epsilon to the ocean and the magic of tide pools.

It rained in Conference City 2. This was a much larger city than CC1, and we were put up in a soulless large brand name hotel in a major tourist center. The advantage of this is that Epsilon got to take lots of tour buses and boats. There were views of trams and excavators from our hotel window here as well, but it was not nearly as exciting. CC2 is a somewhat near University F. The rain and the cold in the city did not do much to make my look forward to my move there.

We had a week before conference 3, so we spent it with a my partner's colleague in Friend's City 1. I've been to FC before, 10 years ago with my partner and his sister. I'd hoped to revisit some of the places I'd loved before, but travelling as a group of 20 somethings is very different than travelling with a kid. Still, FC is as beautiful as I remembered it being. We were able to take Epsilon swimming in the ocean again. I taught him to ride the waves "like a roller coaster."

I didn't really get to see much of Conference City 3. The conference hotel was far from the conference location, so we were away for 11 hours of the day. It was an amazing conference, so I wouldn't have minded at all if not for the fact that I never made it back for the little guy's bed time. Epsilon went to see a lot of old churches and palaces with his father.

The transition to Friend's City 2 was difficult, in so much as going in a large hotel near the center of town in a rich country to a two room apartment shared by 4 adults and 2 kids in a poor country needs a large emotional gear shift. Once I'd put my guilt at being born well off aside, the visit there was as lovely as it always is. The friend we stayed with for 3 weeks has a daughter a year older than Epsilon. I'd say they got along famously, if not for the fact that I try not make this blog a fiction. They had enough fun together that I hope they grow into each other as the years go by. My partner and I have been visiting FC2 every couple years for more than 10 years now.  That's enough time to look back an see the progress the city has made. Perhaps not as much as other cities in developing countries, but progress nonetheless. Which brings me to my internet silence for the duration of my visit. It used to be that most people in FC2 did not have computers at home, so it was easy to find an internet cafe in any part of town. Now, as highspeed connections have become available all over the city, these cafes can only be found in the tourist and poorer parts of town (and in the latter case, open only in the evenings after work.) My friend, of course, does not have a computer at home.

Our travels are now over. We are staying in a hotel in University E's city, waiting to have a house to live in.


  1. Hope the vanishing of internet cafes from "developing world" city as internet connections appeared in homes has taught you how efficient the free market can be :)

    I am pretty certain those who used to operate the internet cafes in every nook and corner have now found different (probably better) employment.

    Instead, imagine what would have happened had these internet cafes been operated by the government. As people got home internet, business would diminish. The cafes would incur bigger and bigger losses and the govt would be out of money to pay the salaries of the cafe employees. Result: strikes and protests! And then to save the employees, the govt would impose higher taxes on those who have home internet. Bigger losses, higher taxes.... a race to the bottom. Europe, anyone?

    On a related note, are the PIGS countries now being reclassified as "developing countries" or is a new term being invented?

  2. You do know that the internet was developed by the US government?

  3. You could have been more specific. The internet was invented by Al Gore :)

    You do know that the US govt has trillions of dollars at its disposal? A little more than the seed capital Bill Gates or Steve Jobs started with, perhaps?