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COLLECTOR OF COMMONALITIES
I suppose to form an opinion correctly I must find some common
occurrences of things. I know that taxi drivers in Iraq holler and
somewhat threatens each other’s. That they do not appear to be afraid
to tell the other to move or push the other. My one taxi driver although
this was not common was a person that would honk his horn when it was
impossible for the person in front to move. This is very annoying to
me as you must accept situations that are impossible to change.
But I collect common feature while traveling. Or maybe best to say
I collect specific characteristics of a culture. For example in Iraq
there were these commonalities.
I saw about 30-40 very large 10-20 grain silos.
The type that holds or deposits the grain for a whole state or province.
I would have to say that an enormous amount of wheat is grown in Iraq.
I heard lots of people complain about the electricity.
I am positive they do not like the condition of the electricity.
I saw so much old wiring and antiquated systems that I am also positive
the electricity was in bad shape before the war and not a cause of the war.
I saw so many Toyota Land Cruiser being driven by the UN people that I would
believe that them had to have won a huge contract with United Nations.
But also made it easy for them to be a target of murderers.
I heard of so many Caravans getting attacked that I induced that this
form of travel was dangerous.
I had so many people that smiled when I said,
"I am from Ameriqui" that I know they think good of America.
I know that I visit slept in 7 cities in Iraq.
Did not get killed while walking down the street with the normal person.
So I would say that Iraq is lot more safe then it is dangerous for
Westerners. I know that when I walk down the street they do not know
from what country I am origin.
DINNER WITH THE STEREOTYPE
I had dinner with 2 people from Canada last night. The girl was a
young French speaking Doctor from Quebec, and the man was a writer
of born in Pakistan, formerly a Muslim whatever that means, and actually
was also in Iraq. He is dark skinned and works for I think McClanes Magazine.
I am not really familiar with this magazine. At least that is what he said.
I do not pry into travelers lives that much, they get defensive.
They both were a stereotype of sorts.
The Doctor listened and diagnosed the situation. Try to weed out
the conversations and make a good opinion.
The reporter had preset opinions and spent time justifying them.
What is bad is that my vacation from Anti-American Rhetoric is over.
I am back in the western world. They love Americans in Iraq, and the
modern world hates the USA. Or more likely they spend all their time
defining themselves by comparison to the USA. This is always a little on
the ridiculous side. Why does a country compare itself to another country?
and say what is bad about that country and how it suppresses the other.
In the end this man from Canada put forth the idea that the USA suppress
other cultures with the USA culture.
We agreed on the fact that the other cultures copy the USA culture.
The music, the clothes, they television way of the world.
But even though we agreed on the word copy. This still was considered
by him to be a somewhat premeditated effort to control the other country
by Coca Cola and McDonalds. Like they are forcing other countries to buy
these products and cultural icons.
He lost the doctor a the end when through a series of deductive arguments
I lead him to the his conclusion that the "Canadian" culture is superior
to the USA culture. She instantly had the light bulb above her head and I believe
it hit her the ingrained prejudices that I was dealing with toward the USA.
I think he feels because he is from Pakistan and a former Muslim that he
is defined or thought of as second class. He was very intelligent and brave
to go to Iraq and only by him telling me that he was superior did I ever feel
him to think inferior. He could not appear to hold the steady course with another
culture. Always having to place himself above or below.
A person that will not negotiate the price of an item, or a person that
negotiate too much for a purchase is often a signal to me of their personal
belief. People that think they are rich pay too much. People that feel
more powerful will often try to abuse the situation and negotiate too hard.
Like they can force the person to sell too cheap. I like to look for a fair
deal and treat the person with respect. Like an equal.
Cultural and customs can hold back a culture from economic advancement.
This is not a problem if they accept this and do not try to get the money
for nothing. The Amish in the USA are a good example of a culture that holds
a back its economic development because of their culture. Hard to make the
big dollars when you do not drive or use certain types of tools.
I suppose the world economic development is not correct. Maybe it should be
quality of life or maybe standard of living. All the words cause problems
because in the end the only thing that is important is that a person is happy
with their station in life and accepting and tolerant of others stations.
I believe a tolerant traveler has learned acceptance, and does not try to
change or alter the culture it enters. Like the Prime Directive of Star Trek.
To hold the steady course is my travelers dream.
To remain my own person when the world changes daily.
To not lose myself when at the same time finding myself.
Like Star Trek to
“seek out new life and new civilizations”
I believe the old man in the back of the taxi on the way to Mosul.
Saddam stole their life, and he said today is day one.
This to him was the start of a life with a future for Iraq.
A people actually suppressed by one man desire, and not their
Note that the Man represented to me a stereotype of talk and actions
in life. Very predictable and easy to anticipate. Not trying to think
freely, but repeating other persons interpretations of the world
and not forming his own.
COLD IN TURKEY
I have traveler north about 12 hours by bus to Istanbul. I do not
think in Kilometers or Miles. I think in travel time. The distance
is not important. It is the time involved to travel to my destination.
But of course to calculate the time, it does help to know the distance.
I would guess I can average about 60 Kilometers or 50 miles travel per hour.
So if I travel north from Baghdad to Istanbul it would in my mind maybe
be 600 mile or 729 kilometers. I may be close to the distance. I am not
sure and really do not car. What effects my travels now is the temperature.
I need a jacket, sweatshirt, and long pants. I lost a bag with the Norwest and
KLM flight to Istanbul. They did not pay me, and I learned after leaving that
they would not pay me by mail. I must somehow collect the money for the lost
baggage in the city reported the bag lost. This is really a hassle. So now I
am very cold and had to borrow a jacket from a girl last night to go to dinner.
It was so hot in Iraq that I forgot about the month or worries about clothes.
I view Turkey as a hot country, but in reality it is not that hot. So I am
spending my day looking for clothes in a tourist trap. Not a cheap way or easy
way to find clothes.
I also think in the cost of travel. Baghdad to the Turkey border was about
10 dollars. From the Turkey border to Istanbul was about 42 dollars.
So the cost of travel in Turkey is four times more expensive and a lot slower.
I took a collective taxi that went 140 kilometers per hour in Iraq. The
bus only goes around 80.