Monday, August 14, 2006

The Good

One and a half weeks left in psych, and I'm not back in the groove yet. I should be studying pharm right now, but instead, I just watched 'Blackmail is My Life'.

I wanted to contrast my last few summer posts with something positive. So, I am going to list off some of the best things that happened to me this summer:

  • The bats outside of the New World Cinema, in Dar. The cinema is inside a walled compound, of course. I saw a few movies there: 'Poseidon', 'Inside Man', and 'Superman Returns'. An interesting thing about the theatre was, that you would order dinner in the food court, and they would bring it to your seat during the movie. What a concept. But, the best thing about the theatre was the huge flowering tree out at the front of the parking lot. The flowers attracted bats like anything; on the trip there, every branch had a bat on it, with it's long winged arms, crawling, grabbing, stretching, staring at a tall human, digging into the flowers. Amazing to watch.
  • Animals in Lake Manyara, the Serengeti, and the Ngorongoro crater. The photo is of a young guy in Manyara, living life to its fullest. I never knew that they put so much effort into brushing the dirt off their food.
  • Birth. Rococo and I had the pleasure of watching a woman, with no pain killers, give birth to her third child. That was a first for both of us. She was lying there, grunted a bit, told the nurses she was ready, and gave birth right there and then. To see a baby arrive into the world was magical. 'The miracle of life!', I thought to myself. Sure looked easy! What a priviledge, to be there at the moment that life begins for a person, the meeting between the mother and child. When we walked out, we saw the happy-looking father waiting in the hallway. What a smile he had. Rococo, however, was traumatized; she said something about 'screams' and 'liquids'. I have to say, the delivery of the placenta caught me off guard. The thing looked like a watermelon from space. I guess I'd never thought about it before.
  • The east coast of Zanzibar. Like I said before, it was paradise. What a peaceful hotel, my favourite of the trip. Vibe, Rococo, and I really needed the relaxation, after four weeks of intense ups and downs. Closer to Dar, Bongoyo island was pretty amazing too; so close to town, and yet you feel like you're on Gilligan's Island.
  • The auto parts market in Dar. It was a maze of 30-cm-wide pathways containing at least one hundred tiny little used-part booths. It was invisible from the street, with the entrances completely unmarked. I wonder how many tourists end up in that place every year. Probably none.
  • Bananas. I think I had bananas every single day I was in Tanzania. In a related subject (food), seeing clove trees, cinnamon trees, and vanilla vines was amazing too. It changed the way I think about those spices.
  • Pain au chocolat. In the afternoons, it was nice to head over to 'Épi d'or' for some nice French baking, and perhaps a coffee or a tonic.

I guess I should have written this post earlier, when my mind was closer to the summer. Here's a funny tidbit. Somehow, street salespeople always knew we were Canadian, on sight. At the end of the trip, a guy told me how they knew: if a group of people was mixed-race and English-speaking, it was probably Canadian.


Bil The Man said...

Sweet tales, hopefully more to come. In all my travels in Europe I have never been asked if I was Canadian which kind of makes that argument about recognizing Canadians a bit moot. I had heard from Europeans that the safe default is Canadian as Americans generally aren't indignant when called Canadians. My guess is that is what is happening here, but I could be wrong.

med neophyte said...

It is always good to balance the bad with the good, and vise versa.

When my husband and I were in Cuba (so the American alternative is out) we were always mistaken for English. We guessed that it was probably because of our glowing paleness but it did make us reevalute how we look to outsiders.

Tall Medstudent said...

Well, I've never been asked if I was Canadian in Europe either. Tanzania, on the other hand, is a different matter altogether. Foreigners I met were mostly Scandinavian or Canadian. I did meet Americans, but they were all white; a nearby hotel had a big group of teenagers from the US, I think there for faith-based reasons.

The Torontonians we met in Zanzibar thought we were Americans; we were indignant at the accusation. I think that it was my 'Property of Harvard University' t-shirt that gave them that idea. :)

Bil The Man said...

Wow, I thought you got out from that Harvard yoke. The word verification has my name in it, funny.

It is interesting that you say that most travellers were Canadian or Scandinavian, that supports the argument. I doubt you "look" Canadian, whatever that means. I suppose that any ethnicity generally rules out Scandinavia so that may be what the person meant. More tales!!!!

Anna said...

Great post, sounds amazing.

I always think Canadians are American. Whoops. I always thought Americans were indignant to be called Canadians? But is it the other way round?

med neophyte said...

In my experience mistaking a Canadian for an American is kind of like mistaking a Kiwi for an Aussie. They are used to it but it still ticks them off in an exhausted sort of way. Americans are usually amused when they are mistaken for Canadian. Like they are passing for polite and unassuming; but that is probably my national pride coming through.

Tall Medstudent said...

Well, it's being confused for American politics that is the real problem. :)

BTW, Neophyte, good to see your blog!

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