Thursday, July 1, 2010

Traveling and Twitter

Azerbaijan is physically separated into two parts. To get to the other part from where I live, you must take a bus through Iran or through Georgia. It takes many hours and I obviously can't go through Iran. So when I went last week, I flew. It took 40 minutes.

I went with a Peace Corps friend and her Azerbaijani husband, Ferid. An interesting thing happened. Before we left, a young woman told Ferid that her brother was in the army in the part of the country we were going to. She asked if he would bring her brother some home-cooked food. Ferid barely knew this girl. But he told her he would, got information about his location and when we got to the other part of the country, he told his mother about the situation.

The next morning she got up early and cooked for several hours, making him a large packet of food. Ferid then went to the base, met with the young man and gave him the food. He was gone about 5 hours.

This is perfectly normal in Azerbaijan--spend hours making food for a stranger and delivering it.

Some of the things that are part of everyday life in America didn’t exist when I left the country in 2008. So this time I will ask questions about these things.

For example, Twitter—I have heard of it, but we don’t have it here. It seems like if it did, I could get tweeted (I think that is the term) by Ashton Kutcher or Britney Spears about what they are doing or thinking. Why do people want that? It seems like a lot of people use it. What useful things can a person do with Twitter?

Lady Gaga—I haven’t heard her sing—it is not possible to download from Itunes here. Is she any good? Her outfits are interesting.

The Tea Party---I don’t get them. They seem like a contradiction. They don’t want much Federal government, but they are angry at Obama about not doing something about BP. But according to them, isn’t the government supposed to stay out of regulating stuff?

Most of the Tea Party people seem to be from conservative states like Mississippi, Alabama and Arizona. Maybe they don't know that when Mississippi sends $1.00 to the Federal government in taxes, they get $2.02 back. The balance comes from the liberal states they make fun of, like Massachusetts, which gets 82 cents back for every dollar it sends.

And on the personal responsibility part of the Tea Party—Arkansas, where the Tea Party is strong, has a divorce rate almost twice the rate of Massachusetts. The same for SAT scores, teen pregnancy, school drop-out rates and incarceration rates—the Tea Party states seem to have a problem with personal responsibility as well as for paying their own way. So why don’t they like the Federal government?

The Real Housewives—who are they? Are they really "real"? Are they actresses? Is this a reality show or a drama?

Apple Tablet—I want one, I think. How does the virtual keyboard work? Can I get away without a real computer if I have one of these? Will I miss the optical drive? Is it better to read books on it Kindle-like or is it better to tote the book around?