Saturday, March 12, 2011

Ramblin' Man

I live a very temporary life. I am either in school, at home, or travelling. This is making me pretty good at minimalism, and keeping my "stuff" levels down while I am on the road. I think a temporary lifestyle is full of adventure, and am fine with having that for the next 10 years or so of my life (school, different school, training runs, deployments. Rinse, repeat.) The ability to be able to be semi-nomadic and not be tied down is at times invigorating.
I have noticed some things about Oman, which is why it is not my ideal place. The place lacks community. It is too warm to walk anywhere for most of the year, therefore people stay in their cars (what did they do before 1970 when there was 6 miles of road? Staying in one’s car means they won't have meet or interact with others. There is no gathering place for the exchange of ideas. I haven’t found a place where old men gather to play chess and backgammon while complaining about the youth and the state of things. There is not a Tahirir square, nor too many things which function as the meeting or social exchange spot that a tavern would in the Western world. The experiences here are very esoteric, and thus we appreciate the tangible much more when it does come.
Last night a few of us discussed these issues and our temporary lifestyle over hookah (shisha) and mint tea. We also solved many of our world's problems: high speed rail transport for example. If every voting district took a ride on a French TGV or the Prague metro, they would fund it all. Imagine being able to get from Cleveland, Chicago, Madison, Milwaukee, Minneapolis, Des Moines, STL, Kansas City in around an hour or two. Environmental saving would be huge, and most of the infrastructure is already in place with the interstate system. Then, forget the need to actually travel to any of these places. With 3g and now 4g speed, video conferencing, remote meetings, etc are becoming more and more useful to travel budgets. Last semester a friend had to run home for a doctor appointment, but could not skip class. Therefore she skyped herself into the class and fully participated as a student. Omantel's lock on the internet will become one of it's largest hindrances in the future. We discussed the two biggest problems Oman faces, which may coincide with each other: the oil running out, and his majesty’s life doing the same. This place is called the Sultanate for a reason, and when the beloved Sultan departs power, the cult of personality-puppeteer-father of the country will be gone, leaving a great void. And then, on top of all this we schemed and dreamed of ways to become insanely rich off of this country. As this is a Drake funded blog, I feel maybe I would endow a professorship of some form. Now if only I could figure out what to do with the other 28 million?

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