The Internet really is pretty amazing — even out here at the veritable ends of the earth we can get almost anything on line if we look long enough and, in some cases, if we’re willing to pay hefty shipping charges. Honestly, there are so many times when I wonder how my mom ever did it before ordering on line was feasible. Of course, as a kid we never lived somewhere that didn’t have at least a small BX and commissary nearby, so that helped, and we could shop on the local economy, which DEFINITELY helped.

I heard a rumor today that “they” might be closing down the one bazaar that we’re allowed to go to, which would mean…that’s right, this really would be a prison. As in no where to go, no way out, and all of our Christmas presents are going to have to be ordered on line and shipped since we’re not allowed to shop anywhere but the bazaar. I’m pretty sure there might be a mutiny of some sort if that happened, and not just by us Americans. The merchants certainly benefit from the fact that we have no other option than to buy from one of the five vendors who sells the same thing at the bazaar, so I’m sure that closing it would severely impact their profit margins as well. Let’s hope it doesn’t come to that, because I have a feeling things could get pretty ugly around here with no outlet whatsoever.

But back to the internet…what I find funny is how frustrated I get when there are things that I can’t get on line, as if I expect everything to be instantly available. It’s not like I grew up with the internet — when I was in high school and it was just starting to make it’s way into homes back in the States we lived in Turkey, where internet access was controlled by the government. I think I used it once or twice at my Dad’s office but didn’t really ever surf the ‘net until college.

For instance, a month or so ago we tried to buy airline tickets from a regional airline only to discover that they didn’t sell electronic tickets, and insisted on delivering paper tickets to an address in the country from which we were starting our trip. Well, since they don’t have an office here, we don’t have a local address (just a forwarding address in the States) and we’re starting our trip with their airline in a third country, that just wouldn’t work. We ended up having to do it the quasi old-fashioned way and e-mail a travel agent to book the tickets for us, which frustrated me because I like being able to make my own reservations on line and have the confirmation immediately.

The worst is when the internet goes down here, which actually hasn’t happened for a while now (knock on wood). It’s amazing how bereft I feel — I end up trying to connect several times in the space of about half an hour, as if by sheer force of will I can make it start working, and then giving up in exasperation. The internet really is a big part of our link with home, so I guess it makes sense, but I still find it amusing since a few years ago I rarely used it.