Wednesday, June 18, 2014

here's looking at you, kid

"A blogger never leaves home without his camera."

It is one of the first commandments of bloggerdom.

We bloggers are sworn to share our life experiences.  And a camera is always a writer's good (if not best) friend.

I suppose, just as there are corollaries to The Peter Principle, there are also corollaries to the camera commandment.  Such as, if you leave your camera at home, something interesting will happen within 5 minutes.

That is what happened to me yesterday.  Because I am on foot for a few days while the Escape is repaired, I decided to leave my camera backpack at the house. 

After all, I was simply walking into the village to pick up the mail, pay my telephone bill, look for a new mobile telephone, and to have lunch while watching the soccer game.  (I had completely forgotten that my sports-watching venue is closed every Tuesday during the summer.)  What could be camera-worthy on that list?

I had just left the post office when I noticed a strange car zip down a dead end street toward the beach.  It took me a moment to realize what was odd.  The car had a tripod on top.  And I knew immediately what it was. 

It was the Google maps street view camera car.  Of course, if I had look closer, I could have read most of that on the side of the car.  Yesterday we discussed people who are hams.  Google falls into that category.  It is not at all shy about its presence.

Within seconds, the car shot out of the street again on its grid pattern run through our little village.  As I stood there being photographed by the camera, I realized I should be shooting it.  But I had no camera.  And my backup (my camera in my telephone) was still vacationing in Barcelona -- or wherever its new owners live.

On the walk back to the house, I saw the car two more times.  Criss-crossing its way through town.  My face will have to be blurred out several times.

The nice thing is that Melaque will now have a full street view option in Google maps.  And that is a gigantic step for Mexico.  Not too long ago, it was illegal to possess detailed maps of Mexico's roads.  There was a concern that an invader (and there was usually only one major candidate for that role) could use the maps to conquer the country.

The age of satellites and GPS technology has put paid to those fears.  A teenager with a Garmin could figure out almost every road in Mexico these days.

What has disappeared with technology like Google maps is a sense of privacy.  Even though it is an old photograph, I can peer into the backyards of all of my neighbors on Google maps. 

Of course, I can do the same thing by climbing up to the house roof terrace.  I am not certain a sense of privacy has ever existed in Mexico -- and that is something that takes a bit of adjustment for northerners.  My Mexican neighbors are surprised at my Greta Garbo impression of seldom responding to the bell at the front gate.

But I am wandering from the point of this essay.  I need to keep my camera with me.  I managed to do that for most of my recent trip.  If all goes well, I will start digging through the thousands of shots I snapped to see if there any worth sharing.

Or, I could simply direct you to the Google maps street view, and let you see them as if you were there.


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