Conversational journeys over cups of chai, at home and abroad.

People Watching – Tanzania style

Tia, how different our people watching can be.  As you are surrounded by the hip and trendy sipping on lattes, I’m normally around a mix of street hawkers, bus conductors calling out for passengers, and the constant bustle of those coming and going to work, home, church or mosque.  Since most here don’t have cars, or housing that affords all the creature comforts of the US, much living is done outdoors and for the whole world to see.  One of my favorite sites while being out and about is seeing the Maasai guys.

Maasai embody the classic image of East Africa.  If you’ve ever seen anything on tv with a bunch of tall, skinny, African men, jumping up and down, with elongated earlobes, most likely they are Maasai.  The Maasai are a nomadic group of cattle herdsmen, known for drinking cow’s blood, and famous amongst other things for their right of passage into manhood, which involves killing a lion with a spear.  Basically they are the bad asses of the East African nomadic groups.   And because of their reputation, and because they are a tourist attraction, they often are employed to keep guard or more commonly to just hang out around the tourist resorts.   Basically these guys can get paid for just being them, looking all African exotic and fierce.

I have to admit that this fact alone makes me slightly bitter.  I mean after all, will someone out there please pay me to sit around and be a token American?  I’m sure I’ll do a great job of drinking beers, eating pizza, and becoming a couch potato.  If you know of any takers let me know.

And just to make you smile, check out this article on a new plan in Southern Sudan to design animal shaped cities, http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-11019550.  I like that for the giraffe shaped city the planned sewage treatment plant will be no place other than…you guessed it, underneath the giraffe’s tail.  Right at it’s butt.  Gotta love it.  – Alyssa

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