This is a lengthy article NealStephenson wrote for Wired magazine in December 1996 (http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/4.12/ffglass_pr.html), in which "The hacker tourist ventures forth across the wide and wondrous meatspace of three continents, chronicling the laying of the longest wire on Earth."
I remember reading this and thinking, who cares about the laying of a cable? But then I found myself sucked in just by the writing itself, and the personalities surrounding the effort. (Stephenson used the same techniques JohnMcPhee used to persuade me to read over a thousand pages about rocks.) If you've read CryptoNomicon, try rereading it while thinking about it as field research for the novel ... -- GlennVanderburgCategoryArticle