Tuesday, December 20, 2011


The spirit of Christmas has descended. Djibouti was colon-ized by the French and when they left, its hard to say what was left behind to enrich the country. As is the case, I'm sure with any colon-ial endeavor. French plumbing, e.g. may or may not be like the plumbing here, which separates us from sewage by a layer of asphalt. Most of the time.

Nevertheless, I surmised that the French restaurants around here in Downtown Djibouti-ville would be run by stalwart Gaullish entrepeneurs and retain actual French chefs. So I talked Ann into roving down into the nearest one, even though she was not excited by the prospect. For vegetarians, I guess there is not much typically on offer. For meateaters, there is some serious weirdness. In front of the place, we saw this guy:

We go in, not much happening. They send us upstairs with the others. We try to find a table where the three unnecessary airconditioners are not triangulating on our heads, but the only table meeting that criteria is 5 feet from the toilet, which has no door.

We opt for a table by the stairs. I am unsuccessful in filtering out Ann's complaints about the AC blowing on her face and one waitress turns one of the AC machines off, and then another one turns on a secret fourth one that drives cool air into Ann's ear. We note small children in the room shivering and covering themselves with napkins, for warmth, from other tables, and finally get the secret fourth turned down.

I have been focussing on the menu. I know there must be some nice meaty things in here, its all in French, though. The steaks are obvious, but frankly, every piece of beefsteak I have tried in this country tastes vaguely of shit. To the point where it doesn't repel me so much anymore, I am beginning to find different qualities in shit taste. Not into this at the moment, Ann points out on the menu the pork loin. I think yes. Granted, haven't seen any pigs for three months. Have seen cows, but mostly goats. Not one single chicken. The waitress comes up and asks if we want a menu in English. Ann is totally confident in her command of the language, as am I. I have decided on the pork loin, so we are like: "Non".

They bring some fresh bread, no butter, and some other tablespoons of something and then comes the meal. The pork Loin looks small to me. Like a sausage. I know it is not a pork loin or a sausage that civilized people would eat upon the first cut, as the aroma comes out and saturates my senses.

After the first bite of this "pork loin" I reminisced:
I remember every time someone would leave Kibondo when we were in Tanzania, they would have a big goat bbq. You would get beer for a while as they roasted it, and when it would smell perfect and you got hungry for it, the line for food would start. I would be totally salivating from the smell, and get in line immediately. But after the first time, when I got a bowl of the stuff they offered before the bbq was ready, a stewy soup. I learned that they char the good parts beyond recognition and offer a bunch of pieces of intestine and stew that smells like crap and tastes pretty gaggy, like it takes some serious will power not to gag for me. And intestines are really chewy. I started to lay out the pieces in front of me that wouldn't chew down and wonder what their functions were, because they were clear examples of anatomically functional adaptations. But Ann was sitting next to me and she said "If you don't get that away from me I will throw up"

So I pretty quick wolfed down the sausage and washed it with rose(yeah, we totally drink pink wine here) and french fries, fully suspecting I was eating intestine. The parts of the pig that don't get into the hot dog. The unclean parts. I googled "Disgusting French Foods" when I got home and found out that my dinner actually made the list of "Stinkiest Foods"

Take a pig colon and slice up the other intestines around it and stick them in the colon. I was eating a pigs entire asshole. I hope its not true that you are what you eat. But fron the way the french around here act towards us, it may be the case.

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