Monday, June 20, 2005

On Friday I found myself sitting in the waiting room at the dealership all morning while they figured out what was making the strange noise. Not too bad by itself, since I had a book to read; but the TV was tuned to some Fox News channel that kept running the same three stories over and over, while somehow managing to avoid any semblence of depth. One of the stories was the disappearance of the young woman in Aruba. The anchor expressed surprise bordering on outrage that the Aruban government didn't want a foreign law enforcement agency taking over the investigation. Soon after, some "expert" (on what, I don't know, since I wasn't looking at the TV) made an extraordinary rant about how Americans should stay in America because the whole Carribean is a lawless hellhole worse than the Black Hole of Calcutta.

OK, now I've travelled a bit, both in the U.S. and out. Apart from Canada, the "out" has mostly been in the past few years, now that I can afford it. For the most part my friends and co-workers have been encouraging - at least pretending to be interested when I drag out the photos from my latest trip - but there are occasions when some of my more conservative colleagues pop up with scare stories. These tend to fall into three categories:

1. Out-of-date information. Example: bringing up Shining Path when I mentioned my trip to Peru last year. Shining Path was a terrorist organization active in Peru in the 80's and pretty much wiped out in the early 90's.

2. Inaccurate information. "Don't dive the Great Barrier Reef because of shark attacks." I did a bit of research on this one, and there are some real dangers in the GBR. Primarily from small, annoyed venemous creatures. There are also parts of Australia where great white attacks happen. They're nowhere near the GBR.

3. Stuff that could happen in any big American city, like, I dunno, Phoenix? Yes, it's sad that someone went to Timbuktu and was shot for their money. They could just as easily have gone to the corner 7-11 and been shot for their money. Hey, I live in a flight path. I could stay in bed the rest of my life and still have a plane fall on me.

None of this is to say that there aren't dangers and inconveniences in travellin abroad. But there's a happy medium between thinking the world beyond your borders is Disneyland and assuming it's Mordor. Do your research before you go. Then go.


Omega's still not eating much, but nonethless he was in my face first thing this morning, chirping and purring his brains out. If he doesn't pick up the pace I may have to take him in to be hydrated and force fed, which sounds like No Fun For Anyone.


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