Thursday, July 24, 2008
Round or Flat?
An underwater preschool playground?
Playa Porti Marie
Curacao's flamingo sanctuary
Greetings again from Curacao. Since we last posted our lives have been filled with more of the same - exploring the streets and beaches of this very unique island. We built a frame for the new mattress that we ordered, we both enjoyed a spaghetti dinner and some good Chilean wine with some new friends from the International School, we saw some of the pink flamingos that call Curacao their home during part of the year, we played some tennis at the Hilton Health Center, we went for a 4 mile run around what is known as the Koredor, and we discovered a magnificent beach tucked into the cliffs of the southern coast.
Dan just finished an excellent and insightful book by Thomas Friedman, The World is Flat. For those of you who have kids in school, are just out of school yourselves, or are simply curious about the possible futures of the world, this book is a must read. The book discusses the "flattening" process that the world has gone through and focuses on the major changes that have happened since the fall of the Berlin Wall and the invention of the internet. By "flattening" Friedman means that the world is rapidly becoming more connected and interdependent than ever before, and highlights not only how and where this is happening but also shines light on the effects - positive and negative. Living in Curacao, a small and beautiful island in the southern Caribbean, grants Erin and I a unique perspective. The book was some 635 pages of small print - and Friedman doesn't waste too many of his words - so it takes a little while to get through. Truth be told, in the "flat" world, where people are so addicted to their cell phones and internet, and even work, taking the time to sit down and read the book might seem ridiculous - but it is worth it. It doesn't happen as often as it should, and we don't always cherish it when it does happen, but when something can change the way you look at the world that thing is a prize. When someone or something makes you ask questions you have never asked before that is an absolute gift. This book will do that. That being said, the one thing that strikes me the most is that Curacao is even subject to this flattening - cell phones, internet, laptops, Blackberry's, iPhones are as important here as they are anywhere else. Even people in this paradise are being brought into the "flat" world. That raises the question, and it was raised by Friedman in his book, about whether or not the "flattening" of the world is really such a good thing. Should it be so difficult to escape from the noise and clutter and find peace - find a place where you can't be found or interupted or given a new task to complete?
For those who don't know me, I like the round world as much as the flat. Erin and I both love to travel around the world (something more possible today than ever before), and we hope to see most of it in this lifetime, and Erin loves to stay connected to her friends over email (we are both just old enough to remember when email didn't exist). Even this blog is an example of how "flat" the world is. I can sit here, in a small Dutch cafe, in the middle of Curacao, at the bottom of the Caribbean and send my thoughts to every corner of the planet. My friends in New York, Goa, Singapore, Australia, Mexico, Los Angeles, and Pensacola can all bring it up on their computers in a matter of seconds. Incredible. Yet I also love being able to escape - losing my cell phone was always as much a gift as a burden - and the places I love to travel to the most are often the most removed from this "flat" world. One of the best emails I've received lately was informing me of Erin and I's new address in Curacao. Lianne, our "buddy" from the International School, wrote that she couldn't quite find the exact address but the realtor told her that our contact could be Pimpiriweg near 17 - near 17 - not 17, only close to it. I thought that was awesome! I was ready to be somewhere where I would not be so easily found. In fact, our address is Pimpiriweg 17 Apartment 3, and we already have a cell phone, will soon have a landline, and probably visit this splendid little Dutch cafe, De Tropen, everyday to check our emails. Round - Flat. Round - Flat. They say you can't have your world flat and hide out in it too, but I'm sure gonna try, because I'm not ready to choose.