16 November, 2009

Hard to Get Away

I've been away again, and when I'm on holiday I usually restrict my computer use to the occasional checking of email.  When I first started to scratch my travel itch, light-years ago, intercontinental communications were much more primitive than today.  Simply making a phone call could use up heaps of precious vacation time. Using the phone involved strange and elaborate local dialing customs, language difficulties with operators, unfamiliar coins, funky equipment, awful connections and the requirement, in some remote locales, to actually book a call and wait for the connection to be put through. 
The only contact friends and family got from me was the occasional postcard or, if really lucky, an aerogramme (ask an elderly relative). 

I'm on about this because people nowadays get very feisty indeed if they don't receive constant updates on your whereabouts via phone, email, text and tweet.  I suppose in this case, as in so many others, I'm inclined to be nostalgic.  I liked being far away and, relatively, out of touch.  If anything truly awful were to befall me, I'd find a way to get word out.  All of this was provoked by me recieving a phone call from a friend in San Francisco while on an island, in a boat, on a river located 15 hours by jet, 3 hours by bus and 2 hours by boat from the Bay Area.  I was happy to get the call, of course, but the strangeness of the sensation of yakking into a small phone while sitting in that small boat in the tropical heat, surrounded by jungle, was a bit overwhelming.
I think it robbed a bit of the romance and sense of adventure from the moment.  I might as well have been pushing a shopping cart around Safeway.

Here's a little photo that I took on that boat ride... before I got the phone call. It's the Loboc river on the island of Bohol in the Philippines.
I know it's not strictly in keeping with the subject of this blog, but it's a very pretty place with very nice people.

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