This will be the last post to bear the title of an Antipodean drama series, I swear to God. Just watching the hysteria around the West Ham/Millwall stuff the other night. I am of course sympathetic to those 'shanked' during the fighting, and would not wish for a return to the dark days of turn-ups and suede heads, but I surely can't be alone in my irritation at the massive po-faced reation in the meeja? However, enough of that. On with my journal, which I will stop posting by the end of August. Promise.
ADDIS ABABA - 7/8/09 - 8:45am
The power failed during a trip to a children's entertainment area in a place called Edna Mall (which, without wishing to be too disparaging, has to be the least impressive mall I've ever seen) and this cut the fun short rather abruptly. At least the kids weren't on the Moon Rocket ride at the time. We moved on to eat lunch in the Lucy restaurant, which is adjacent to the Ethiopian National Museum. Whilst there, eating alfresco, the heavens opened (AGAIN!) and we were forced to huddle inside a bamboo hut (itself not totally waterproof) while we waited for the storm to subside.
Entered into a late-ish conversation with a Rastafarian ex-pat named E, who told us that he had been travelling around Ethiopia since May, with the intention of returning to Britain in September. He was here, he said, to get his head straight regarding his other lives in the N19 area, where his work as a carer, and his dream of building his own record label were both proving to be problematical.
As for the museum; well, it was fairly sparsely equipped and the lack of description on most of the exhibits was a little frustrating, but of course this was intended to encourage visitors to engage one of the many guides who were hanging around. Although I could (and can) understand the reasons why, at the time I thought it something of an unnecessary indulgence. It was fascinating to see Selassie's throne - massively over-sized as one would expect. The proscription on flash photography meant that I couldn't get a very good picture though, sad to say. The museum did have the distinction of housing The Worst Toilet Not Only In Scotland, But Also In Ethiopia And Indeed The World.
8/8/09 - 5:15pm (*and other times and dates)
Catalans. All over the gaff. Since I arrived here, there has been an ever-changing group of them, mostly ensconced in the hotel; all day, every day, spent within the fastness of its walls, playing with young Ethiopian children or simply TALKING. VERY LOUD.
We are told by the hotel staff that these people are attempting to adopt the infant Ethiopians and return them to the land of Juan Carlos. They are nothing if not patient, content to sit in the hotel courtyard for hour after hour, repeatedly exclaiming: "Guapo!", playing ball or blowing bubbles for the 'little angels'. I struggle to understand what motivates (and indeed finances...) them to invest what must be huge amounts of money and time to fulfill their dreams. We are told that around 30 children were to be adopted during the month of August, which was quite surprising to me. The evidence I saw seemed to back up this estimate as there were regular 'deliveries' of young Ethiopian kids - every few days. Some of these kids were as young as 6 months, and they ranged in age to about 6 years.
E the Rasta does not like these people. He feels that they should consider first the orphans in Spain before condescending to the 'Poor Africans'. He says that he had been snubbed by them previously, but I think he was mistaken. He raises the Lewis Hamilton issue and various football references to back up his claims of Spanish racism.
As far as I'm concerned, a quiet beer in the courtyard turns into a McDonald's fucking kids' birthday party!