What is Not Quite Right?

Not Quite Right:  It’s that feeling, at odd moments when traveling or living abroad — say, for instance, watching a man on a desert road carry a cardboard box on his head, sloshing full of water and fish — when you just have to look twice, reconfirm the presence of fish, and prove to yourself you weren’t just imagining.

Fishermen in the inner harbor, Sur, Oman.

The funny thing is, often, this idea works both ways.

After a moment you might say:  “Hmmm, fish in a box . . . why not?”

And then you might say:  “You know, a couple years ago when I tried to carry that slippery critter back from the boatdock with my barehands . . . maybe a cardboard box wouldn’t have been such a bad idea.”

And, even later, you might come full circle, saying something like: “Why, when there are so many perfectly good cardboard boxes in the world, do fishermen bother with ice coolers?”

I think such moments are important, cutting both directions.  It’s needed in our world now, little instances, accumulations of detail that show us we are all interlinked and that our different ways of being, though different, aren’t necessarily better or worse.  Traveling in the Middle East and North Africa for the last year, I’ve experienced this not quite right moment almost daily.  This blog is my attempt to share not only the specific odd little stories and observations I’ve accumulated but also the sense of change that travel, and seeing, can impart.

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5 responses to “What is Not Quite Right?

  • richard merrill

    Wonderful bite-sized pieces of useful info!
    It’s like National Geographic in real-time.

    I couldn’t see the graffiti in the picture, though.

    And more Camels please.

  • Chaim Weissmann

    Just finished your book One Hundred and One Nights. Excellent and moving. I am in awe of your talent. I have also spent a lot of time in the area and appreciate your ability to comprehend its beauty and power.

  • Benjamin Buchholz

    Thank you Chaim! Very glad you enjoyed the book.

  • Chaim Weissmann

    I have been telling all my Starbucks buddies. I am a semi-retired English professor and I have several students from Saudi and Kuwait currently and they are fascinated by what I have shared from your book. I spent the past 10 years in Kerala, and the 10 years before that in Swat Pakistan. In addition, I have 2 daughters in Israel and will be moving with my wife to join them in August. I really admire your perspective and plan to become your avid fan and promoter. My best friends are a Pakistani couple who now live in Princeton. I would like to intro duce you to them with your permission.

  • Natasha Cordes

    You need a FB fan page!!! I just finished your book & I loved it! Possibly the best book I have read in a very long time. I read it in just a couple of days and really did not want it to end. I loved the perspective and the characters. Truly a GEM! Can’t wait for the next one.

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