“There’s no cell service at the Creek.”
Jake’s garbled voice came through Meg’s car speakers. We were testing the ranges of civilization, on I-70 out of Colorado. Red, scrubby desert stretched for miles all around us.
“The only way to communicate at the Creek is by posting a note on the message boards,” the voice on the phone said. “We’ll meet you there tomorrow. Good luck.”
As we cruised through Moab, headed South, I sent the last messages I would send for three days. They bounced up from the Utah desert, hit a satellite, and then redirected across the Atlantic Ocean, to Italy.
We’ll be out of touch for a few days, I said. Let’s use this time to think about things.
Please be careful and come back in one piece? The response came. Otherwise all this pondering will be pointless.
Sure, I said, and the car continued on.
Within seconds: no signal.
Tomorrow would be the first day in four months, or maybe more, that this woman I and would not talk.
We drove on, and for there first time in months, I put my phone aside, my mind at ease.
With so much to be ashamed of in the news lately, I think it’s important to remember: we have lots of be proud of here, too.
The USA’s nature is second to none; it is well-taken care of, respected, preserved, and enjoyed.
It’s important to recognize the pitfalls of history, and accept that this land doesn’t belong to us. (Especially important with the recent happenings on our southern border). Nonetheless, I’m incredibly thankful for the opportunity to have communed with this land, learned from it, and grown up in it.
The American West.
And one of my favorite places in the world.
If you’re a reader of my Nepal series, you may remember The Drunk Welshman, back in Pokhara, telling me about his theory that the U.S. invaded Afghanistan in order to control the global heroin industry.
While it’s generally a good idea to take conspiracy theories with a grain of salt (especially those told to you by a drunkard in a foreign country), it’s also a good idea to not immediately discount them, just because they don’t square up with your own background knowledge. If traveling teaches us anything, it’s that ALL of us, no matter where we’re from, have woefully inadequate, incomplete, and utterly skewed educations. (See: Fake News in Former Yugoslavia)
Last weekend, I decided to investigate the Welshman’s claim. In doing so, I fell down a bit of a YouTube hole, and learned some really interesting things about modern Afghanistan. Below are three videos that shed some light on the situation in this country. Don’t take them as complete, unbiased texts, but maybe use them to think about your preconceptions about this country and the foreign involvement there. I found them fascinating. I hope you do too.
I had the privilege of finding myself in Seattle this last weekend, visiting a friend who works as an Aerospace Engineer for Boeing. He sits in an office all day, working on wiring diagrams for one specific system on the new 787 Dreamliners. He is a U.S. citizen: white, upper-middle class, as am I.
On the 4th of July, we found ourselves in an Uber, heading to Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood. Our driver, Fritz, spoke with a heavy accent— my best guess puts it at Ghanaian, but my best guess is only so informed.
He was listening to BBC World on the radio, and we got to talking about the media. The day before there had been a massive terror attack in Baghdad, Iraq. Over 200 people had been killed. Some of you probably heard about that one. One of my friends even changed her profile picture. But how many of you changed your profile picture for Bangladesh? How many of you are wondering, right now, “where the hell IS Bangladesh?” (It’s by India).
Twenty people were killed in an attack on a restaurant in the capital, Dhaka, right before the Baghdad attack. That’s more victims than there were at San Bernardino. Both attacks, in Iraq and Bangladesh, occurred during Ramadan, Islam’s holy month. Most victims were Muslims.
That’s like Christian extremists launching an attack on Rome, during Christmas.
No one cares.