Saturday, June 20, 2009

Iran-what's going on?

I'm sitting here on my living room floor, remote in hand, flipping between CNN International, the BBC, Al-Jazeera and Grey's Anatomy--the last serving as fictional dramatic relief from the real-life trauma unfolding in Iran.

What is going on anyways?

And why is Christiane Amanpour in London and not Tehran?

CNN has, for lack of a better term, been sucking lately. BCC and Al-Jazeera are both quite a bit ahead of CNN in reporting breaking news, and actually have people on the ground reporting. CNN's on-the-ground team (sans Amanpour) are holed up in a hotel not reporting much of anything.

In any case, Iran's a mess. An inspiring and brave mess, but a mess nonetheless. Exactly 30 years after the 1979 Iranian Revolution, it's happening again. We think. Ayatollah Khamenai doesn't think so though, but I don't think he really knows what is going on. In his Friday sermon he claimed that it was over, that's it, Ahmedinejad is president, and y'all need to settle on down now. But that didn't seem to work.

Cries on the street have gone from calling for re-election to revolution. Opposition leader Mosavi has stated that he is prepared to be a martyr for the cause and is appearing in public to lead the now illegal protests.

This is big.

And two other points:

1. Why does a (very attractive) key human rights activist for Iran based in DC think she can appear on international television wearing a plunge-neck, sleeveless shirt? Does she realize that she just lost credibility with probably 75% of the people she is representing?


2. Why does the CNN London office have no one on hand fluent in Farsi? That scares me. Admitting live on TV that they can't translate the Twitter tweets they are receiving from Iran. C'mon. Not even 140 word-limited tweets?

Friday, June 19, 2009

Being Annoying Around the World

Eleven days until we're out of here for a month and a half. I can't say it won't be a relief. Sometimes you just need to get out in order to appreciate something.

Wrapping up loose ends is taking up plenty of time...figuring out where to work next year, where to live next year, little things like that.

Really, it's not so bad. Nothing to really complain about. We're moving into a villa next year (i.e. house) rather than an apartment, we're debating job leads in Muscat. Odd to admit, however, that the boonies of Oman where we live do have a certain appeal that I don't want to give up for half-a-real-city life in Muscat. These are exciting prospects for next year. More space, more money, more freedom.


I'm excited beyond words to go to Paris and to see another culture. A whole nother world of social frustrations and cultural inadequacies to experience. It's too easy to start to pick on the culture that you are constantly immersed in...creating a false demon from the bludgeoning and buffeting that you undergo every day in a particular place (even if it's a particularly difficult place to live.)

It's strange to be not only excited to see the wonders and great new things of a society that you have never seen before, but also to be (perhaps almost equally) as excited to see the glitches and aggravating nuances of the society as well. Perhaps these are just the perverse mental musings of a traveler who has spent too long trying to work within an extremely difficult culture for the exacting and organized modern mind....Maybe some day I will have the pleasure of traveling without the sick desire to see how other cultures are annoying too.

Don't get me wrong though. I'm excited about the positive things too. I have been pouring over my new Lonely Planet France guide while I sip on my coffee every morning. Day dreaming about sitting in cafes and people watching. Picking out romantic places to stroll with my lover. Salivating at the thought of eating a 5 course rustic French dish washed down with too much vin rouge. Loosing hours on GoogleStreet virtually walking though the neighborhood around our apartment.

It will be great.

Still though. Still. It will make my heart warm to see the French being obnoxious in a totally different way from the Omanis (and from me!)