... and oh so true

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

You remind me of a babe - What babe? - The babe with the power - What power?

To inject some levity to my overt listlessness, Ahmed, house manager of the flat I'm staying in, gave me a little -too much, I'd say- background on 'magic' as it's practiced on the Islands.

Voodoo isn't a word that's used here, but in any case, there is apparently a closed circle of witch doctors who offer a menu of imaginative spells to suit clients' demands. "Mostly for good," he added ... in an attempt to appear less creepy, "... for example if you want to communicate with the dead." After which he promptly elaborated on a disturbing 'disappearance' (read: kidnapping) ritual that didn't sound goodly at all. Then there were the shark attacks at Coco Beach (in Dar) - apparently completely attributable to a group of vengeful fisherman who had summoned up Jaws-like attacks against those who were pilfering their catch.

I didn't want to get into that discussion. And I didn't quite appreciate the fact that it was an obviously BAD CHOICE of evening conversation material. Clearly I've hammed up my chicken licken bravado just a tad too much.

Pink's position - published and acknowledged

Three thumbs up for Pink's letter to the Editor of London's METRO. It was published today and highlights the institutional apathy (or bias?) in dealing with drug rape. Please read :

Despite the findings of the Association of Chief Police Officers, drug rape is not a 'myth.' The association's report, not yet available to the public, cites a lack of evidence of Rohypnol and GHB in the blood of a sample of women who reported assult under the influence of these drugs. However, nowhere was it noted that the substances leave the system of the victim in a short period - in some cases as quickly as six hours.
Given that it takes up to an hour to take effect and that the amnesia effects can last for several hours, by the time the woman has found her way home, talked with friends and pieced together what has happened during her blackout, it is likely the drug will be out of her system before she has been attended to by the police.
In a country with the lowest conviction rate for rape in Europe, where police are reluctant to bring charges in cases where women have been drinking, to suggest that the behaviour of women is relevant to the criminal nature of these predatory acts shows a problem with our justice system.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Being myself

So what does Madame Pathetique get up to in enigmatic Stone Town? Does she celebrate las frutas (frescas) del mar or go tripping the kingfish fantastic? Nope. Or perhaps lounge indulgently on the beach, in the glowing rays of the setting sun? Nein. Not even an indoor cerebral soak in the onetime-House of Wonders-now-Museum tickles her fitful fancy. And she is too broke for therapeutic retail recourse.

Get this - our self-declared tragic heroine fritters away her after-archive hours in the third floor flat on Hurumzi Street. Above the duka khanga on the ground floor and the family with friendly children ("Karibu! Karibu!"). She plays Snake II on the Nokia 8210. And Solitaire on the zonked-out Toshiba laptop. Overandoveragain. Pining rather pitiably for her partner.

My God, how time changes a person. The Me of Twenty would've scoffed and scorned at this staid and unadventurous person. I miss Routine.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Dust to dust in Stone Town

My first afternoon in Stone Town. Feeling extremely drowsy from the pill I took this morning to stave off motion sickness. The ferry ride seemed uneventful enough for a start (most things are at bloody 7am anyway) till we docked at Zanzibar Terminal. A crowd of edgy men eyed our vessel closely as the shiphands cast, then lashed massive sisal ropes to the pontoon.

I caught sight of it, out of the corner of my eye. A rough hewn, pine-coloured coffin was delivered from the upper deck onto the waiting arms and shoulders onshore. The casket rode high and quickly on the human conveyor belt. In no time at all, it had disappeared from sight.

Less fleeting was the inconsolable woman in our midst. Once again, left behind.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006


Jack Bauer is on in the background in my apartment, and I'm inclined to believe that Alicia does almost as much as him in a day. I swear it hasn't been that long since I last checked out the blog, and the entries seem to have grown in a geometric (rather than arithmetric) progression. And the most impressive element is that each entry is akin to a new chapter, a new development, a new insight. Golly gee, can you just lower yourself to the standards to a mere mortal?

As you can tell, I have absolutely nothing interesting to blog about. This is procrastination project number two this evening. The previous one was sorting out my 'new' mobile phone (and changing the basic language from Chinese to English), finding out that it doesn't have a standard ring tone (what's the deal with that), and surfing the Internet for potential ring tones (why are things just so hard to find out there). All in the span of a 'well-spent' four hours. The epitomy of efficiency!

Hope everyone is cool out there in cyberspace. It's unfortunately time to refocus back on the homework for tomorrow... or as I call it procrastination projection number three in the meantime.