Poolside with the Baghdad Blogger

Via Paul Boutin, an interesting read from Peter Maass over at Slate. “Salam Pax Is Real” tells an inside story of Driving Mr. Pax, discovering his musical and literary tastes, and taking advice on buying Persian rugs — all without ever realizing this hired interpreter was the Iraqi star of the Web and burdened by huge ISP costs:

He usually drifted off to one of the few Internet cafes in town. I assumed he was just writing e-mails to friends, though he often complained about the high cost of downloading and uploading. This struck me as odd, because sending and receiving e-mail shouldn’t require a lot of bandwidth–unless, of course, you are posting photos to your blog and receiving more e-mail than Bill Gates.

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