Thursday, July 23, 2009

The world is flat

The world is flat.

El Rinconcito has access to three wireless networks. Every morning, I walk down to put the laptop computer I use on the dining room table where the bandwidth is better and make an entry to my blog so that it can be read by my friends and collegues most of whom are 5000 miles away. It wouldn't matter if they were 12000 miles away. The Internet has made the world flat.

Every night we have a set time when we call our eldest daughter who, with the help of her grandmother, is taking care of our home. We use Skype to call computer to computer and it is free. On those nights when she has been out of pocket, we've called her on her cell phone, and it's cost about 2 cents a minute. I don't talk to her that much when I'm home.

Morning, noon, and evening, I check my e-mail and deal with the matters that can be dealt with. This is a blessing and a curse, as Monk would say. It is a curse because, technically, I am on vacation and vacation should be, well, vacation. On the other hand, I've been dealing with 30 or so e-mails a day. Multiply that by 28 and you'll get the number I would've had to dealt with when I get home if it weren't for e-mail.

When I went to Russia in 2000, we were yet at this point. This is coming into Paraguay quickly and hard. Everyone I know here has at least one cell phone. Many have several because of the introductory plans. All of those tricky manuevers I've been telling you about on the street, they've been done while the driver it talking on the cell phone most likely. A huge percentage of the signs I read while trying to learn Spanish are about either cell phone service providers or Internet service providers.

Paraguay is now spanning three centuries in technology. On one hand, there are still horse-drawn carts going down the road halling items of produce and trash, and on the other, there are high-end users. The other day coming back from Brasil we passed a pickup that had boys in the back who were texting.

With this comes the modern world with all of it's advantages. No doubt the quality of life will improve in some measureable ways. But we all know the other half of that. Paraguay will become less like Paraguay and more like the rest of the world.

The world is flat. It is a blessing and a curse.

1 comment:

Susan said...

Two nights ago a chat window popped up while I was on Facebook, and it was a former student who was watching the eclipse live on the other side of the world, feeding me live links to India TV so I could see the eclipse first hand as the Indians were. We kept up two chat windows and two live TV feeds, IndiaTV and MSNBC for about 30 minutes as he described the darkness and the unfortunate cloudiness where he was standing.

It was enough to make us go and fix some tea. Central Daylight Time has been released from its shakles.