I celebrated my first Sizdeh-Bedar picnic today. What is a whiter-than-snow American boy doing at a celebration of the 13th day of the Iranian New Year? Well, I'll leave it to your imagination to figure that one out.
But, I was there, and thousands of Iranian Americans were in Lake Vasona park today in Los Gatos to celebrate it. The holiday says that you're supposed to get out of house and go down to a local park.
Studying other cultures is interesting and eye opening. Not to mention you get lots of great food that way.
If you really want to understand America and Silicon Valley, you need to get into some of its subcultures anyway. Hell, if you're white and speak only English you're in the minority here.
I broke bread this afternoon with a family newly arrived from Afghanistan. I wish I wrote down their names, but that really isn't important. One young man, probably about 30, told me about seeing people killed in front of him and he told me how the Taliban took TV's out of his store and destroyed them.
He arrived in American three days before 9/11. What an American experience he's had.
And, they are all Americans. I asked him if he'd ever go back. "No, no," he said, while explaining how his house had been burned down and his school bombed. "There's nothing there to go back to."
We turned to talk about 9/11 since he arrived here about that time. The feelings around the picnic blanket were interesting. "It was a sad day," his older brother said. "Several thousand people lost their lives and that's sad. But, there is a silver lining. 20 million people have gained their freedom because of what happened."
There's a lot of hatred of the Taliban and of religious fanatics in this group. Yeah, it's anecdotal, but it was an interesting perspective.
To wrap up the past 20 years of life in Afghanistan, my lunch mate said "we lost two million people in the war fighting communist Russia for the ideals of freedom. That's 20% of the population that we lost, an immeasurable price."
Hope you had an equally interesting weekend.
Have you ever wondered if someone's plane is on time? Anytime I have to go to the airport to pick someone up I watch their plane arriving on The Trip's Flight Monitor. Mondo cool. Kids love it too, cause they can watch relatives get closer to their house and it helps anticipation build. Yeah, Patrick and I are flying tomorrow, so I'm thinking of these things.
This is funny. It's a news article that says Dave Winer sold out all of the webloggers to AOL. It had me going all the way until they said Dave Winer's hot tub was in Burlingame. Bzzzzttt. Wrongo.