May 17, 2005

A quick scan of the web sites of three major internationally recognized newspapers – the New York Times, The London Times, and the Anchorage Daily News, reveals no coverage of the peaceful elections held here yesterday, confirming the argument that newspapers and their readers are generally interested in Africa only when there’s a war, famine, an Ebola outbreak in the Congo, or a human interest piece on Nelson Mandela. Not to worry, as Article 43 Section 2 of the Blogger Manifesto states, "it is every blogger's responsibility to fill the gaping chasm left by the established media." And so we do.

[Editor's Note: The BBC web site had/has nice coverage of the election.]

Peace, once again, reigns over Addis Ababa this morning, at least from my Ground + 1 office window. In fact, the only life I can see is a cat who looks enormously content to lie comatose enjoying the morning sun.

I am not going to regale you with tales of the election - only limited information as the Fun Zone does not want to enter into any political debates or appear to be taking a position. The Fun Zone is on only one side - the side of Fun. Therefore, though the Fun Zone is experiencing and witnessing a number of interesting things, he will be delicate with what he reports. Apoligies to readers, but you understand. As such, let's continue with where we left off:

Though it’s challenging, I will try to steer clear of the election now and talk about other stuff. This morning, I finalized documents giving my brother-in-law rights to act on my behalf in business, tax, and other affairs. It’s not much of a bold move – my biggest fear is that he’ll lose the letter, but it could be a major time-saver for me. We’ll see how that goes.

I wonder if there’s any conflict between the letter of delegation I got for him and the power-of-attorney my parents have for me. If it comes to it, maybe they can duke it out in the international people’s court. Judge Judy, international arbiter. That’s a multi-million dollar spin-off just waiting to happen.

Speaking of Judge Judy (and to move to more humorous topics), I’m surprised how well-liked the old Judge is here. Her show is broadcast on the Arab Satellite stations and people just eat it up. Not sure why – it’s a courtroom version of Jerry Springer, but I’ve been told a number of times when the show comes on and I’m moving as fast as I can to get the remote, to leave the channel in place. Not that I always listen, but watching Judge Judy with an Ethiopian audience does make it more bearable.

The Fun Zone is, shall we say, a bit tired, but recovering nicely. The publication rush that was so pressing only a few days ago at my current place of work has eased significantly ever since post-election concerns caused us to cancel our trip to the South. Since then, the pace has been a little lighter, though previous assignments now on hold have been supplanted by other needs. So is life, everywhere, so I can’t complain.

I’m wearing the Cross of Lalibela right now, a gift from my wife a couple of months back. I like the way it looks topless – kind of powerful. It also feels nice bumping into your chest throughout the day. If I have my druthers, it will be a long-term fixture. Why I’m even bothering to write about this, I have no idea. Maybe it’s just a warm-up to lead into the recent mainstay of the Rocking Fun Zone – Ethiopian Election 2005 or EE05 as some call it (nobody calls it that).

In other news, I had a humbling but pleasant gym experience last night. Humbling because, prior to last night, I’d usually been the most fit person in the gym. Granted, the gym’s constituency is mostly middle aged Ethiopian businessmen with large bellies, but I enjoyed the status that comes with being a fit, 29 year old. Like I said, last night I was put to shame, and when I say shame, I don’t think it could have gone any lower.

Last night, the gym was stocked with up and coming elite Ethiopian runners. After riding the stationary bike for awhile, I became aware of the collection of abnormally thin and wiry individuals doing insane things on the cardiovascular machines. The guy on the stationary bike next to me was peddling for close to an hour at an average of 175 RPM. Even though it was on the lowest resistance setting, it was still amazing that he was able to keep it up.

Then, one of the other guys sat down on the seated stationary bike in front of me. This one had a heart monitor on it, so I was able to watch his pace. I sat flabbergasted as he pedaled for about 5 minutes at 145 RPM with a constant heart rate of about 104 beats per minute. Meanwhile, I was pedaling at approximately 105 RPM and my heart rate was close to 160. I was impressed!

As if that wasn’t enough, I wasn’t even the most fit farenj. That went to the runner-looking type who did 3 sets of 10 pullups after I struggled through sets of 6, 4, and 2, respectively. Then, there was the Ethiopian Thai Boxing champ over in the corner doing kneeing motions that looked like they could go through cement walls. Humbled, I shied off into the corner to do a form of exercise I’ve recently returned to – plyometrics. It’s my theory that by doing a few robust jumps or bringing myself from the floor to a standing position as fast as I can will give me increased “burst strength”.

Anyway, my exercise routine is irrelevant. What was really impressive were those three Ethiopian runners – now I understand why they are the best in the world. Even if they aren’t top of their class in Ethiopia, many of them could probably qualify for the long-distance teams of most countries.

Well, I’m off for tonight. Peaceful reading.



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2:12 PM  
Blogger abigail said...

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11:58 PM  
Blogger Couch Potato said...

Help me Dude, I'm lost.

I was searching for Elvis and somehow ended up in your blog, but you know I'm sure I saw Elvis in the supermarket yesterday.

No honest really, he was right there in front of me, next to the steaks singing "Love me Tender".

He said to me (his lip was only slightly curled) "Boy, you need to get yourself a shiny, new plasmatv to go with that blue suede sofa of yours.

But Elvis said I, In the Ghetto nobody has a plasma tv .

Dude I'm All Shook Up said Elvis. I think I'll have me another cheeseburger then I'm gonna go home and ask Michael Jackson to come round and watch that waaaay cool surfing scene in Apocalypse Now on my new plasma tv .

And then he just walked out of the supermarket singing. . .

"You give me love and consolation,
You give me strength to carry on "

Strange day or what? :-)

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10:40 PM  

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