Monday, January 30, 2012

Divine Contact WIpe

So many things I don't understand, but I pretend to, to get by. I lie, walking like I'm confident and know where I'm going, or smiling at the dude with no legs on the bike that moves via hand cranks.

From 20120123

I did throw him 100 francs (=60 cents) and say "bon velo", to which he replied "merci". This was on my way back from the cold beer store with 3 frosty golden tuborgs in a bag.

As I was working today I heard some guy yelling and some other guys yelling back at him, it was like that game marco polo, but at high volume. It was getting into my ears and dislodging the music I was trying to crank to drown it out. So I went to the balcony and looked, one stumbling bastard shouting at nothing in the middle of the square. Two guys at their tables of crap they were trying to sell yelling back at him.

It would get quiet for a while and the guy, the rooster (same guy) was standing at the edge of the circle, holding a salute as traffic circled around him.

Yelling all the time, maybe its the way the language evolved, inclusive of everyone across the barren plains, and now it is just trying to be heard above the crush of hopelessness.

I rode my bike out to the Haramous area, where the new US embassy is, and took a circle around the mosque out there. I have been really down on Islam since being here. Partly because I read "infidel" and partly because at 4am two megaphones bathe us in their sonic Q'uran recitations thru our closed and shuttered bedroom window and one other crashes in thru paned glass and wooden door from the back.  It is loud enough.  It evokes a prayer on my part consisting of a single finger.

 So as I'm riding my bike around this mosque, I saw the flip flops in the entrance, and considered the garbage clotted beach in front of it.

I started wondering if riding my bike instead of walking it was some how an affront. Wondering, but not caring.

From 20120123

I look at these streets. Richest neighborhood in the city, but you can't even look at a nice house without seeing a shack made out of cardboard and tarps on the trash strewn lot in front of it. And broken glass and nails and shredded corrugated metal all over the street. Forget Allah, I thought, and within minutes I got a flat tire.

From 20120123

Insha'Allah.  If Allah wills it. A real smiter that one. Islam means submit, but really, its stupid not to have a patch kit when you are riding on broken glass and nails and shredded corrugated metal. So I probably just needed to "submit" to common sense. And here I was conflicted about blaming Allah versus blaming myself and that argument didn't seem to be doing anything for my tire, so I kept riding, thinking this is actually a better workout, and then one of the sprockets on my derailleur snaps off and nestles quietly into the roadbed.

Now I need a cab, so I take out my phone, because I have the number for 4 different cabbies in there, only to discover that every single one of my contacts has been deleted, I assume because its a crappy touch screen and its been jiggling in my pocket for 40 minutes. Every contact is deleted except for "Abdullahi" a guy that works with Ann and speaks 7 languages, and a contact with no number, just first name "Egg" and last name "J". Abdhullahi means "Slave to Allah". I figured Egg J just got dialed into the contact list by my thigh randomly, but who knows.

Now I'm walkin my bike, and a cab comes by going the other way. I figure I'll catch him on the way out, this neighborhood is like a gated community and most cabs are travelling with one way fares.

Sure enough he comes back out and I tell him the destination and he looks at my bike, like it is some great hardship to throw it in the trunk and somberly offers double a fair price to take me home. I'm just like, yeah, whatever (cab drivers always try to rip you off here you have to bargain and they still try to welch by pretending not to have change, etc.). He digs around in his glove compartment, and then digs around under the actual antelope fur covering the dashboard and comes up with a bent chisel looking thing, which he then jimmies into the trunk hole and wiggles for a while until it pops open. I throw the bike up in there, Jump into the front seat, moving his plastic baggie of Qat onto the center console.

He speaks no english, I speak no french or somali, we get along great in silence. Random photo below.

From 20120123
Wherever you go, you'll be better off respecting the local deities.

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