February 27, 2005

Sunday afternoon - weekend disappearing!

The weekend is fast fading away. My wife is at the hair salon and I'm sitting in my study watching the wind and gray skies outside. Really feels like a fall day where I grew up in Alaska. Gonna have to get my bag ready and pack my lunch for school tomorrow.

Things go well. My wife and I had a lovely visit to her parents' house today. They are such a neat family - I really enjoy my time with them. Today, there was a big political discussion on TV from some of the opposition parties, and everybody was absorbed in it. Given that the debate was in Amharic, I went in and bugged my youngest brother-in-law who was studying geometry.

Let me interrupt with a little shout out to long-time friend and one time visitor to Addis Ababa, Mr. TC, also of Alaskan origins. When TC was here in Addis with us, he kept remarking about the wooden scaffolding used in constructing all the buildings. Any foreigner that sees it is generally surprised. The tallest building I've seen yet had 12 stories of the wooden scaffolding - essentially poles strapped together with some kind of rope extending all the way up whatever building is being constructed.

When I wrote yesterday, I talked about being used by the police to take them to the scene of an accident (I thought car accident). Turns out, a building did not collapse, but the above described wooden scaffolding was the culprit. Press wasn't allowed to get close to the site, but one eyewitness said he saw someone jump from the ninth level of scaffolding. There were two confirmed deaths, but the reason for the scaffolding to come down was unknown.

It's amazing, the stuff is used on probably 90% of building construction around here, as opposed to the more secure metal scaffolding. It's so much cheaper, so that's obviously the rational for using it. As you drive around Addis, you can see wood suppliers with stacks of long poles, many of which I'm sure go into use as scaffolding. Really sad.

Anyway, to leave that sad note, yesterday was a monster rain/storm and the clouds from yesterday are still sticking around. Maybe more rain on the way. Yesterday's rain was an absolute gusher. The accompanying hail was so thick and strong that the gutters at the bottom of the clinic I was working in had little piles of hail at their bases. It was actually really refreshing. The air is now cool and clean and the atmosphere of the town, at least to me, seems calmer.

In other news, I have now been fully removed from any activities involving service to the car. My wife took the car yesterday to a mechanic. She was accompanied by a knowledgable friend and all problems with the car were taken care of for under $30. The annoying rattling on acceleration is gone, the radio now works (installed upside down by me and my bumbling brother-in-law). Even problems I didn't no about, including a slight pause in acceleration upon shifting, have been taken care of (fuel injection modification). Suffice it to say, I am now no longer in charge of car maintenance. I'm a too easy mark and will only end up costing us painful losses for unnecessary repairs.

Well, I'll log off there from a calm and grey Sunday afternooon. Enjoy yours all as you look forward to the dawning of spring. Funny, here, the rainy season is coming so that's what we have to look forward to. On the one hand, there will never be any interuptions to our water service. On the other, it's going to be rainy and grey from June to September. I know I'm a self-proclaimed "rain lover", but even that might be enough to make me want to stay in bed at least a few of the days in that period. Ciao.


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