WH Chronicle No. 1.06

“Hmmmm….pasta maker?”
“Bread Machine?”
“Hair Dryer with Diffuser?”
“Shiatsu Massage Chair?”
“Lava Lamp?”
“Rolling dishwasher?”
“Antler chandelier?”
“Waffle iron?”
“You don’t like waffles.”
“But, we might have a waffle emergency!”
“50 Inch Plasma HD TV?”
“OK.  That about does it; now see if that bag weighs more than 50lbs.”

We’ve already sent 200lbs of books and music via diplomatic pouch.   And if we can fit all of our lives into 8 suitcases, then we’ll travel 8,933 miles without having to leave home! 

Tom celebrated his birthday this week.   At his early morning gig, boredom inspired him to create this little song: 
Happy Birthday to me!
I’m now 53.
My beard is all grey now,
And I sit down to pee.  

 Daryl is currently functioning as independently as a cuckleburr.    I had to pick her up from a sleepover at 2:45 am—after she awoke and couldn’t find her way to our bed.  Oiy….all those little kid bedtime rituals (“Mommm, I’m thirsty.  Mommm, there’s something in my closet.  Dadddd, I can’t go to sleep.”)  are going be extraordinarily fun while wrestling mosquito nets. 

Sam doesn’t give a flip, as long as he gets his way. 

Daryl’s birthday is coming up and we are trying to figure out what to get her that will fit in the luggage.  We’re thinking about a Target gift card.

Me, well, I’m waffling (not an emergency, yet) between excited, stressed, and wondering what the hell I was thinking when I signed up for this.  It’s September 1st...eek….Reminds me of when I would happily register for summer band camp only to  beg my parents to let me stay home as we left the house.

At orientation they briefed us on the expected effect of culture shock.  Here’s a chart of what you will supposedly be witnessing via chronicles during our sojourn.
We will be adrift in a cultural sea. We’ve been instructed that we are ‘guests’ and should behave as such. So much for the chicken hats.  Any unsolicited advice, help, or guidance should be treated like Christmas fruitcake; don’t send it, unless it is requested (hopefully, Aunt Eunice is paying attention).

But, maybe a potential goal of our travel should be to remove the veil of cultural bias from our own personal values (assuming we have some)? 

So, what if cultural traditions are in conflict with one’s values?  Take bullfighting in Barcelona (recently banned in 2012 by the government of Catalonia).  Does one condemn the violent animal ballet or paint on a culturally sensitive smile, wave the white scarf and scream “Ole’” in  one's best American bravura?  Or better yet, do you reconcile the whole spectacle by realizing that the Spanish bull lives and dies in a more dignified manner than 10 million of his closest bovine friends; the ones that are conveyered to their factory death each year, all for the honor of becoming a Big Mac (special sauce, lettuce, cheese).  Perhaps abandoning all scruples is the best protection from hypocrisy.

Discerning injustices woven into the fabric of cultural traditions.  “Interesting,“ as Spock would say.  Of course, this is the famous reoccurring theme/conflict in Star Trek TNG series:  rectifying gross injustices vs following being loyal to the Prime Directive. 

Prime Directive:  Starfleet’s General Order #1 is the most prominent guiding principle.  The Prime Directive dictates that there can be no interference with the internal development of civilizations, consistent with the historical real world concept of Westphalian sovereignty. 

Honesty, I thought about the prime directive quite often the last time I was in Tanzania.

By The Way:
  • Shhhhhh….it’s a surprise!  Don’t tell the kids.   A chicken coop was built in our back yard!  We’ll purchase baby chicks upon arrival!  I can hardly contain myself!
  •  Bumper sticker of the week (spotted by Kathlene): “I know we’re in a handbasket, but where are we going?”
  •  Rooster finally receiving the respect he deserves (below).

  • The River Nile drains north-eastern Africa, and, at 6,650 km (4,132 miles), is the longest river in Africa and in the world. It is formed from the Blue Nile, which originates at Lake Tana in Ethiopia, and the White Nile, which originates at Lake Victoria. 
  •  Pearls before swine—is that a reflection of the pig or the true utilitarian usefulness of a pearl?
  • Even though their necks can be 6-7 feet in length, Giraffe have the same number of vertabrae in their necks as humans.

“Bullfighting is the only art in which the artist is in danger of death and in which the degree of brilliance in the performance is left to the fighter’s honor.”  Ernest Hemingway

“Animals on factory farms and slaughter houses are mutilated, drugged and abused in ways that are illegal for cats and dogs.  The problem is that farm animals are exempted from the Animal Welfare Act.  Therefore companies often act with impunity.”  Bruce Freidrich

And in honor of the upcoming football season:

“College football is a sport that bears the same relation to education that bullfighting does to agriculture.”   Elbert Hubbard

Waving my muleta,

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