Travel broadens the mind: Random thoughts from Greece

Flexibility and scalability are usually trade-offs, as a visit to Crete demonstrated

Random thoughts while traveling around the Cyclades:

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  • The last time I was on Santorini, it seemed very cool that I could stay connected via the numerous Internet cafes on the island. Now, I'm annoyed when my Wi-Fi connection goes down and I have to rely on one of the few remaining Internet cafes. The world might not be getting better, but it sure is becoming more convenient.
  • Money and charm are a nasty trade-off: The last time here, Oia was a jewel -- immaculate, charming, and with one of the most beautiful vistas in the world. The vista remains. Oia is immeasurably more crowded and touristy, a victim of its success. Cruises land daily, flooding the town with tourists, and too many shops now sell generic merchandise rather than anything unique and interesting. Does anyone remember when the Internet, or Linux, were charming? Hint: It was back before a lot of money was at stake.
  • On a visit to Rethymno on Crete, I watched a delivery truck bring bottles of water and tanks of natural gas to various restaurants and shops. It occurred to me: This system requires vastly less municipal infrastructure than safely delivering potable water and burnable gas through a system of buried pipes. Reconfiguring the delivery system is much easier as well. On the other hand, the cost of each additional unit of potable water and burnable gas must be much higher than when you can just turn a spigot and out it comes. It's a perfect example of the trade-off between flexibility and scalability.

See how travel can broaden the mind? Or, perhaps, reveal deep-rooted psychological flaws?

- Bob

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