Non-Governmental Imagination

Job titles
December 7, 2006, 4:31 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

On this trip, I have picked up a number of curious job titles:

  • Principal Assistant
  • El Principe de Computadore
  • El Principe de Computadore y Cervezas
  • Computadore Expert 
  • PACU Nurse

I love being alone in foreign countries
December 6, 2006, 4:03 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

I usually crave people. When I´m on my own, I seem to have little adventures that I rarely do when I travel with others.

Today I was walking back from the hospital after a comparatively long day. In Ecuador, we were never done before 7pm, and here, after only being here for two days I gather that 5:30pm is pretty late. So we were leaving at around 5:45pm today, and I waited awhile outside the changing room holding one of our sick nurses´ IV solution bag. Since the sickies were all taking a cab back I walked back to the hotel alone.

Two people about my age that I walked by motioned for me to come over. At first I thought they were trying to sell me something, but after giving them an uncharacteristic second look, I realized they were just curious folks.

As we walked back, we started talking. My Spanish sucks (a word I had to explain numerous times to them) as did they{re English, but we made do in the middle somehow. I needed to buy some batteries, so they taught me how to say that and took me to some places to find some. I bought them a beer for their kindness and we talked for at least 90 minutes. The girl, Gallito (I think), had this really cute sense of humor and would stick her tongue out whenever she thought anything was funny or interesting. David does security at the hospital and saw me walking in and out of the hospital on my gopher runs all day. He is more chill and understood more English, so he was often a go between.

It is really hard to learn another language. But its really gratifying to move this fast. I´ve mainly travelled in countries where the language has been extremely foreign and difficult, so to be in a place with an easy language is quite a pleasure. If I had been walking with the group or even one person, there´s no way they would have approached me.

But they did, and now I have two new friends. I need to be alone more often, in the US and abroad, to facilitate more such interactions.

Goodbye Ecuador, Hello Peru
December 4, 2006, 7:36 am
Filed under: Ecuador

So I have not been able to update this as much as I would like.  I am now in Piura, Peru, after a 12hr bus ride that was supposed to be 8hrs.  I have to be awake in four hours, so I will keep this brief.

I had a great time in Portoviejo, even though I worked too hard. 

Afterwards Jorge took us to this beach town called Salinas where we relaxed for 24 hrs before going back to Guayaquil.  We went sport fishing (Jorge said we were the buccaneers, but we didnt catch anything) and hung out.  We lived The Good Life, going to lunch at the yacht club, hanging out at his girlfriends beachfront condo, sleeping at his big-ass house, driving in his BMW. 

I am not saying he hasnt earned all of his wealth.  The amount of his time/money/energy that he gives to the poor surpasses that of any American that I know (myself regretfully included).  I frankly think it is arrogant for people to accept wealth in the US as morally neutral but to deride the the rich in other countries because they are somehow more responsible for global poverty. 

But I digress.  It was weird because I always have this idea of doing things on the cheap to save money for Interplast, so eating at yacht clubs a day after helping the uber poor was a bit of a change.  The patients we help are poor.  The folks who do the helping are not.  And truth be told, I was fucking exhausted, and the R&R really gave me new wind for another busy week of 20hr days. 

I had this image of Peru being lush and green or cold and mountainous, but the part the bus drove through was a bland desert.  Ecuador was beautiful with bananas and cacao growing everywhere and the lushness was ready to leap off the road.  That lushness turned to dust in Peru.  Luckily, the Ecuadorian customs dude didnt care that my embarkation card or whatever had also turned to dust. 

I will be here for a week, and might have more internet access, but who knows.

YouTube vs. Blip
December 1, 2006, 7:18 am
Filed under: Ecuador, Web 2.0

Which is better, Blip or Youtube?

YouTube is big. Even before Google bought them, they somehow became a household word. At work, some of The Powers That Be asked that I get us on YouTube. Everyone wants to be the one in a million that becoms huge, and since YouTube snowballed ahead of Revver, Blip, Grouper, etc., they became known amongst the non-tech people as the place to be discovered. Sometimes these non-tech people like things done their way, and that applies soft pressure to join the bandwagon.

Blip seems a lot friendlier than YouTube. When I have a question, I write the main Blip email address and get a response back that sounds like it was written by a real human within 24 hrs. I met Mike, the co-founder at Vloggercon, and he was genuinely nice and helpful, even though I was the least technologocially knowledgeable person in the room.

They are also a lot faster. On the Interplast blog, I have been using both (Interplast on Blip es aqui y Interplast on YouTube es aqui) to upload videos of the visiting educator workshop that I am on right now here in Portoviejo, Ecuador. Tonight I had to upload four videos on my crappy internet connection, and I got halfway done with the fourth one on Blip before YouTube finished processing my first one. Score one for Blip.

I sorta view it as talking to the really nice girl who is sweet, kind, pretty and faithful or the hot chick everyone drools over but probably won’t have time for you.

I resisted using YouTube for so long but broke down before this trip, partly dreaming of Lonelygirl15 fame. But if I can’t load my videos in a timely fashion, then they’re not doing me much good. If the Interplast blog or my YouTube page starts getting oodles of hits/comments will I change my tune? Yup.

Does that make me a whore? Maybe. But I got a job to do, and my time is precious, especially on an Ecuadorian connection.

The nice girl wins, at least for now.