January 31, 2005

Monday AM, bachelor style

All right, I always seem to start this off with weather and traffic and sometimes dreams. Can't remember my dreams from last night, but I can tell you that we have the makings of a scorcher. Temperature right now must be around 10 degrees Celsius (convert that one yourself). I predict we heat up throughout the day and see some afternoon clouds by 3:30. On the dove report, they are not present on my neighbor's water tower and I cannot hear them or others.

Last night was a fun one for me. I got to speak to a lot of family gathered at Lynn and Claudia's house. I could just imagine everyone huddled around the island in the kitchen, staring into the speaker phone. Great talk. I discovered the identity of the second commenter on my site - turns out there really is no Orvis Flaxbriner. It was my uncle, forced to register in order to make a comment, playing a funny one. In fact, I clicked the hyperlink to see Orvis's site, but wasn't connected. Still, I assumed it was legitimate and was ready to respond this morning.

That said, even though his identity was masking someone else, "Orvis" did have an interesting set of questions which were, "How old is your brother-in-law and why are you teaching him to drive?" Great question Orvis. Well, my brother-in-law is 26 or somewhere around there (not too tight on ages around here). The reason I'm teaching him is I'm one of the few people in the family with a car and the only one in the family willing to allow him to use it. In fact, people offered previously to pay for him to take driving lessons, which he turned down, so I'm taking up the duty. It's actually an additional compensation as I've hired him as an employee and can only afford to pay him the meagerest of salaries.

I mentioned driving lessons here before, but I find them so amusing, I must offer a second round of observations. The second step of driving lessons is much like in the U.S. - you get in a car with 3 other drivers and a teacher and drive slowly around town in front of everybody else. But the first step here is a spectacle. There are a number of driving schools around town offering what I supposed could be labeled "back and forth" service. In "back in forth" service, the customer pays to drive a Fiat 500 (one of those tiny Italian grandma cars) back and forth, maybe 30 meters, between a set of stakes driven into the ground. Don't get the wrong impression - you don't get to weave in and out of the stakes. You go forwards and then backwards and this is how you learn driving.

Seems pretty comical to me. I've alluded to this before, but I'm a pretty bad driver here - very aggressive, and (I'm knocking on wood right now), I've had a few close shaves in only 2 months of driving. May Allah and the Lord grant me peace in my driving and a minimal number of accidents which will all be the fault of the other driver. Amen.

If you didn't know and you watch the news regularly, you will shortly. This coming week is the "Africa Unite" celebration to commemorate the 60th birthday of Bob Marley. There's a big concert Saturday, and a whole bunch of events this coming week. I am just waiting for the invasion of rastas, and there are a lot of them in the world. To Rastas, Ethiopians are the chosen people (I hope I'm getting this right). Haile Selassie was considered to them as divine. I think that idea started when Haile Selassie was on a visit to Jamaica. Jamaica had been in a drought for a long time and the moment his plane touched down, it started raining. There's additional support for the divinity of Haile Selassie in the bible as he is considered one of the last descendants of Solomon.

So anyway, the event is on. They've already closed down a number of lanes of traffic in Meskal Square, formerly known as Revolutionary Square. That is where the concert will be taking place. For the most part, it's free, unless you want to pay beaucoup bucks (well, about $100) to get a seat right in front of the stage.

As I mentioned, in addition to the concert, there are also going to be a number of fun activities. A handful of international soccer stars, including Ronaldhino, considered the best in the world right now, are supposedly coming to Ethiopia to play a friendly match against Ethiopia's national side. Should be great fun, but an absolute drubbing as football has not caught on here in Ethiopia like in other places in Africa that might be able to mount a respectable opposition to a hodgepodge of international players. I'll definitely update you on this one.


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