September 27, 2011

So, is this the end?

As many of you know, I am no longer in Djibouti nor am I planning to return. I'm currently in the Great Northwest teaching ESL at a community college. I started this blog to write about Djibouti and my experiences there. Mission accomplished..

Thanks for reading

au revoir

June 18, 2011

Daniel is traveling tonight on a plane

Actually I'm traveling this afternoon but those are the words to the song. Yes folks, this is my last day in Djibouti until September. Hopefully the ash from the volcano  wont effect my flight and I'll be able to leave. I'm changing airlines in Dubai so if I get stranded here I'm going to be SOL with my British Airways flight.

Djibouti Dan is about to become America Dan for the summer. 

June 15, 2011

trip to Arta

So this evening, we took a little trip to the beautiful city of Arta. However, right outside of Djibouti city we ran into a small problem. With a bit of help from our Djiboutian friends we were on our way after a brief pit stop.

June 13, 2011

ants in my pants

I'm currently staying at a friends's house and almost everything about it is great. Almost everything. The only bad thing is/are the ants.(What is the correct verb form there? I'm an English teacher and I don't know)  There are ants everywhere. they are on the floor, on the table, in the bathroom, and in the kitchen. When I sit on the couch, like I'm doing now, they crawl on me. I've become a serial ant killer during my stay here at Casa de Chan.

In Djibouti news, the BBC has a story about the US involvement in Djibouti. Its not all smiles & butterflies.

6 more days till I leave. I check in everyday to see if I can start correcting exams but no. It appears that someone else will have to grade them since I'm leaving in 6 days. Oh well. Its not like I didn't tell them or haven't been to the university every single day to see if they're ready yet. Such is life in Djibouti. 

June 9, 2011

adventures in driving

So I have the use of a car while my friends are gone. Today was a crazy time. I ended up in a roundabout that was blocked off halfway through so there was traffic going both ways in the roundabout. That was awesome. Then to escape the roundabout I headed down a street but it was blocked by a giant hole, so I had to turn around. I never realized how important road construction signs really are.

Later I was driving and saw a guy crossing the road in front of me. He went about halfway across and instead of just pausing in the middle of the road to wait for the traffic like most people, he decided to suddenly leap back into my lane. I slammed on the brakes and thankfully did not hit him. I can not comprehend what that guy was thinking. Learning to look both ways is hammered into children in my country. We are taught to always be aware of traffic because it can kill you. This young man was a split second from death with his reckless behavior.

Don't worry Chans & Jones, the car is fine. 

June 8, 2011

Moustache Man

In my opinion the era of moustaches ended sometime in the late 80's or early 90's. Now, moustaches are reserved only for Tom Selleck and cops.

But I digress, prepare for your wildest dream to come true. I present myself, with a moustache.

Sadly, the moustache died a horrific death mere minutes after this photo was taken.

June 7, 2011


Tomorrow is my last exam time and then hopefully I can start correcting all of them. After that, I literally have nothing scheduled until I leave.

So I just finished watching the Lord of the Rings Special Edition. All 3 of them which takes approximately 20 hours. Had I known I would be sitting around in an empty house by myself doing nothing for 2 weeks I would have bought an earlier flight. Oh well.

Next up is Harry Potter. All of the movies are here at this house and I've never seen any of them so I think I'm going to jump in and see what its all about.

In other exciting news. I took a French proficiency exam recently and I get the results on the 18th, the day before I leave. I also took the entrance examination for the State Dep't and I think I get the results in about a month.

Last night I saw the largest cockroach I have ever seen. Luckily I was able to get a photo.

May 30, 2011


All of my stuff is packed now except my computer and a few random pieces of clothing. I'm moving out of this apartment either today or tomorrow. Can't say I will miss this place, theres really nothing about it that makes it home. I just sleep, eat, and store my junk here.

I won't miss the call to prayer coming in the window at 4:30 am
I won't miss the thrice daily power cuts.
I won't miss listening to the guards horrible "music."
I won't miss the all day prayers from the Ethiopian Orthodox church.
I won't miss all the neighbor kids running around and yelling until midnight when I have to wake up at 6:30 the next morning.

I will miss my friendly security guard who is the only person in this neighborhood who talks to me and doesn't ask for money.
I will miss the ringing bell signalling the return of electricity.
I will miss my super nice landlord who provided ALL my furniture and is super understanding.
and thats about it.

Is a house a home? Not this one.

May 27, 2011

out of Africa

In less than a month I will be in the US for the summer. I have been contemplating how to describe what I am feeling but luckily someone else has already put it into words.

My friend Rachael is also leaving Djibouti here are her reflections.

My Journey Out of Africa

May 26, 2011

I don't know what to think

As part of my blogger account, I can see search terms that bring people to my blog. Today I discovered the best one yet. I don't know that anything will ever top this. I also don't quite know what to make of this. The search term is....

fat naked somali women

How Long?

How long does it take to print 8 pieces of paper? A minute? Maybe 3 minutes if you run out of paper or have to change the ink cartridge? This morning it took me almost 2 hours. Using our state of the art printers and computers at the University of Djibouti, I printed off 8 pages in only 2 hours.

After those fun filled hours I went to submit my corrected exams. They were given to me in alphabetical order but when I turned them in I was told they must be put in numerical order. No big deal. Just 149 exams for one class and 139 for the other.

Why did I decided to teach here again?

May 23, 2011

I'm Arab?

I think I've mentioned this before but people continue to think I'm Arab. Tonight I was walking to the bus and a man greeted me with the Islamic Muslim greeting "asalam alaikum" to which I replied "walaikum salam." He then proceeded to chatter away at me in Arabic. I stopped him and told him in French
"I don't speak Arabic, I'm American."
At that point he switched to excellent English and told me he was from Mogadishu and needed food. I told him I didn't have any with me but told him to go to the mosque which was like 10 feet away. He told me thats where he was headed when he saw me.

(5 minutes later)

I'm walking down the street because buses apparently are not running at 7 pm. A guy comes up to me and asks me either if I'm Arabic or speak Arabic. I told him in French that I don't speak Arabic but I can speak English and French. At this point he was speaking a strange mix of Arabic/French/English/an Ethiopian language.

He told  me he didn't speak French but kept dropping French phrases into his speech. He told me he was Ethiopian and kept pointing to himself and then to me saying "50-50." Since I was and still am unaware of what he was talking about. I ignored him. Eventually he asked me for 50 dollars. I asked him just to be sure if thats what he wanted and he said "yes, 50 American dollars not Djiboutian or Ethiopian." Of course I didn't have 50 dollars in my pocket and told him so. The end.

This is something that baffles me. There are Djiboutian Arabs who live here in Djibouti. Everyone has come into contact with them and Arabs are a normal part of life in Djibouti. I don't understand why I am constantly mistaken for an Arab. I don't dress like them, my skin is much lighter, and I have blondish hair. The only thing is my beard which is nowhere close to as dark as the beards of any Djiboutians. I might mention that only African Djiboutians think I'm Arab, I have yet to have an Arab speak Arabic to me.

What I see in the mirror:

What others see;

New Painting

Here's another painting a friend of mine made for me. This one was a complete surprise. A few weeks before he gave it to me he was asking me about what my favorite color was and what I liked. So the painting is orange and  music. Pretty cool. If you missed the other one, you can see it here

May 21, 2011

we have power!

Great Scott!

The power has only been out for 2 hours in the last 4 days! It is simply stunning. I have heard that Djibouti is buying electricity from Ethiopia and also that there is a new generator at the power plant...but its true!

Also, I should reveal that Wednesday and Thursday there was rain and it wasn't miserably hot. Friday and Saturday were also much cooler than normal. Soooo as soon as it gets hot again the power will probably start to go out.

cockroaches in my oreos

I was eating oreos today and after I had eaten 3 or 4, I noticed that there were 2 very small bugs crawling on the oreo I was holding. They were cockroaches. I threw away the rest of the oreos but it seems likely that I ate some baby cockroaches today.

What did you eat today?

May 18, 2011


Its raining in Djibouti!!!! Its cloudy and raining. This is the best day we have had in a while! I have my window open so I can listen to it. 

May 15, 2011

Lights of the Day

Highlight of the Day: The electricity only went off for 1h35 minutes instead of the normal 2h25 tonight.

Midlight of the Day: An SUV with a flat tire blocking ALL traffic on my side of the road as I rode in a taxi to a friends house. It appeared that the vehicle had gotten a flat and then was abandoned. No one was trying to fix it or move it when I went by. Nice.

Lowlights of the Day:
1. The total number of exams I must correct for this session is 471.
2. Liverpool lost 0-2 to Tottenham. 

May 14, 2011

blah blah

I'm moving out of my house at the end of this month and flying back to the US June 19. It is now officially super hot here and the power has been going off a lot. That really doesn't help me focus on what I need to do before I leave. When its midnight and I can't sleep because I'm sweating on my bed, I'm not thinking about all the important things I still have to do before I go back to the US for the summer. I'm thinking to myself "why am I in this #^$&%*@ place."

But I still have to correct around 500 final exams. Then administer and correct retakes for students who failed the first semester finals. Then do the same for the 2nd semester. I also registered to take a French certification exam. The written test is May 29 and the oral is June 5th. I'm also gonna take the exam to get into the State Dep't June 4th. Plus I need to pack up all my crap in the next 2 weeks and move to friends house for about 3 weeks.


Here's something to brighten your day. French pop music

May 12, 2011

night sounds

It is 11 pm and the power is off. Fortunately, I had  the AC CRANKED before the power went out so its
bearable. I was attempting to sleep but there is one problem.

The security guards are listening to men moaning in unison on the radio. Or at least thats what passes for music here.

One guy moaning a few things and then a whole chorus of moaners join in. It seems to just drone on and on with no stop. They listen to this every single night and I get to "enjoy" it when the power is off.

May 11, 2011

The Bell of Life

When I was dropped off at home today around 4, I heard a bell ringing. Like Pavlov's dogs, this bell triggers a response with me. One of relief and joy. The ringing of the bell means the electricity is coming back on. I have no idea why or where this bell is, I just know that when it starts ringing the electricity will be on in a matter of seconds.

If you ever attended public school and heard a bell for recess,lunch, or the best one, the end of school, you know what this sounds like. Then imagine if, when you heard this bell, your life would instantly be transformed from suffocating heat and mistery to air conditioned bliss in a matter of minutes. From the Stone Age to 2011 heralded by the ringing of the bell.

May 6, 2011

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly?

Tonight was an eventful evening. It started out in the front of the Palace of the People near my house. There were several Asian men wandering around who were probably Chinese since there is Chinese company working there. Some Arab Djiboutians were attempting to make conversation with them in English but they were either being ignored or the Chinese guys didn't speak English. I sort of laughed at this attempt so they turned their attention to me. It turned out that one of them had been a student in Libya and asked if I had ever heard of it. I replied that I had since Libya is very famous or infamous at the moment. We had a nice little exchange and I carried on.

A block away I passed a young Djiboutian woman who was  maybe around 20. As I passed her she punched me in the chest. Surprised, I turned to look at her as she passed and then she spit at me. I kept walking a little shocked by this and saw a group of men who saw this exchange. They sort of smiled at me and I smiled back and kept walking.

The night continues 10 minutes later. I was standing on a street corner waiting to meet a friend for dinner when I saw a peculiar sight. A white man dressed in a long Arab robe and wearing local style sandals approached with 2 women. I wasn't 100% sure that he was white but after he walked by a young guy turned to me and said "white man" and laughed.

All of these events transpired in 15 minutes.

May 5, 2011

Nice Weather

Just for fun I looked up the temperature in Djibouti. At 5 pm local time the temperature was reported at 90 F with a humidity level of 75%. Keep in mind that temperature is recorded in the shade. Factoring in the heat index that works out to 109 5 pm. You can check the heat index or temperature yourself if you're so inclined.

In other news, Djibouti now has wireless 3g internet. I am the proud new owner of a 3g usb key that is enabling meto write this blog post from the comfort of my air conditioned and, at the moment, fully powered apartment.

ps. tomorrows high it projected to be 95 F. If the humidity level remains the same at 75%, 95 F will feel like 130 F. It's not even summer yet. 

April 30, 2011

fun in the dark

One of the pleasures of living in Djibouti are the intermittent power outages. Last night I was lucky enough to have the power out from 845-1145, 230-4, and then 630-8. Not ideal sleeping conditions when it's "warm." There are lots of hard things about Djibouti but having the power go out when it's really hot has to be #1.

April 22, 2011

strange happenings

Today while walking to the internet cafe. I saw an old white man with long hair and a beard. If I was in the US, I would have assumed he was homeless. He was leading a group of 3 or 4 Djiboutians in a chant of U-S-A, U-S-A! while thrusting his hips in my direction. I looked over at this group and they stopped and one Djibouitian yelled "bonjour monsieur!"

Then I went to the internet cafe and wrote this. 

April 13, 2011

A Proposition

Many things have I experienced in here in Djibouti. Many things indeed. Something that has not happened to me until today was an interaction with a full on pimp. I have been propositioned by prostitutes, night club workers, and men selling "massages," but not pimps, until now.

I was about 3 blocks from the university and 1 block from the Ministry of Health when a man approached me and started speaking to me. I had headphones on so I took them off and said "eh?" At that point he switched to English and asked me if I wanted a girl, a pretty girl and he pointed to a building directly across the street from the Ministry of Health. I politely thanked him and went on my way.

Number of Times I've been propositioned in America: 0
Number of Times I've been propositioned in Djibouti: more than I can count

April 12, 2011

Blogging in Africa

There's an interesting website I follow called "Stuff Expat Aid Workers Like" and while I myself am not an aid worker I am an expat and I do have a blog.

So check out their post on Blogging for the Folks Back Home

April 10, 2011

in the internet cafe

About 15 minutes there was some kind of intense argument between a middle aged Djiboutian and another guy that I couldn't see. They argued for a few minutes and the older guy was physically restrained by some other guys and eventually they went outside and continued arguing. That continued until about a minute ago when the older guy marched back in here this time with a policeman, they continued arguing with someone else and then eventually left.

Why am I telling you this? I just want to note that this happens probably once a week in this internet cafe. Djiboutians seem to relish an intense arguement and this cafe never disappoints.

April 9, 2011

fat somali women?

One of the interesting bits of information I can see with my blog are search terms that bring people to my blog. My favorite one is "photos of fat somali women" apparently if you search for that my blog will be one of the results. I like that.

April 8, 2011

Djibouti Jeopardy

My grandparentals have informed me that Djibouti was a category on Jeopardy the other day. So in honor of that, I invite you to test your knowledge of Djibouti with Djibouti Jeopardy!

April 4, 2011

a gift I received

A friend from Ethiopia living here in Djibouti painted this for me and gave it to me last night. If you click on the photo and look at the big version keep your eye out for lots of little "extras" hidden throughout the picture.

April 2, 2011

Election Season!

Right now Djibouti is gripped with election fever. Speculation runs rampant as to who will win the upcoming presidential election on April 7th. There are elections posters and billboards blanketing the city and trucks driving around with people yelling slogans through PA systems. Lots of people are wearing shirts or hats with their preferred candidate on them and attendance is high at political rallies. I can tell you that the entire country is eagerly awaiting the results of this close election.

one day late...

March 20, 2011

Issues in the classroom

This semester I am co-teaching a class on International Relations with another American teacher. I have been teaching the different theories & principles of IR and she would go over different case studies looking at how these theories play out in real life. One week we had a guest speaker come in and give a talk on world view and how your culture, nationality, religion, language, etc effect how you see the world.

Tomorrow was supposed to be the midterm for this class. It consisted of an article with 3-4 questions about the different theories and principles we had discussed in class. However, I was asked by the dep't head to postpone the test a week because the students had complained to him that they didn't understand what was happening in the class. I told him that the previous semester International Relations was team taught with even more speakers to 3rd year students, this class is 2nd year students. Apparently between your 2nd and 3rd year you figure out that everything said in class is relevant for the exam regardless of who the teacher is.

I have no problem with the students not understanding, that is a perfectly normal thing to happen. But why is the teacher always the last to know about it? I have had issues with other classes and instead of asking me questions about whatever they don't understand they complain to the administration. I am led to assume that asking questions of the teacher is not culturally acceptable but I don't really know. Apparently the correct course of action when something is unclear in class is to complain to the highest authority possible. And students wonder why American teachers don't stay in Djibouti.

soap in djibouti

I have noticed a rather strange phenomenon here in Djibouti. Perhaps it is only isolated to my flat but it is perplexing nonetheless. Soap does not lather here. Growing up in the US, working the soap into a nice lather was something that never even entered my mind. In Djibouti, I just get a a nice film of soap on my hands. I've tried different kinds and also soap from the US but to no avail.

This is NOT my soap experience.

March 15, 2011

My Journey into Africa: Pick your Poison

My Journey into Africa: Pick your Poison: "Every culture has 'culturally acceptable' vices. For Americans, binge drinking and massive coffee intake are probably at the top of the lis..."

Djibouti Jones: Djibouti, the Novel

Djibouti Jones: Djibouti, the Novel: "When Elmore Leonard came out with a book called 'Djibouti' my mom said, 'Don't read it, Rachel.' Like the ever obedient child I was when it ..."

March 13, 2011

some thoughts on Djibouti

Today my landlord was supposed to meet me at noon to collect the rent. She didn't show up or call so at 1 pm I left my apt. It's hot and the electricity was out so no use sitting in inside waiting all day for something that may not happen.

So here I am at the internet cafe, killing time until, well I guess until the electricity comes back on but I have no way of knowing that until I'm actually at home. As I was walking here I was thinking about the differences between how things operate in Djibouti vs. how things operate in the US. For example

Today I attempted to pay my electricity for either the 3rd or 4th time. The first few times I tried, in February, they told me to come back at the end of the month. It is now Mar 13 so I went back to pay and was told to come back at the end of this month. Previously I have paid my bill every 2 months. For example I paid in September, November, January, and so I naively assumed that paying in March would be the next one. I was wrong. Consequently, I know have no idea when or how often I'm supposed to pay this bill.

So i was thinking about things like this as I trudged through streets. In my limited experience in Djibouti, this is pretty normal. There seems to be little rhyme or reason for a lot of things like bill paying, scheduling, etc. I also thought that perhaps the bus system is the best functioning system in Djibouti. They are always going, they stop everywhere, they almost always give change promptly, they don't overcharge, and they always get to their destination barring an accident. 

Some days I wonder how anything gets accomplished here.

March 10, 2011

Ethiopian surprise

I just returned from about a week in Ethiopia with my dad and little brother. I originally through it was only my dad but my little bro surprised me at the hotel! We hung around in Addis Ababa, went to Awash Nat'l Park and saw animals, ate traditional Ethipian food, and just relaxed. On wednesday I returned to Djibouti with my mini-family in tow. They experienced the sights, sounds, and smells of Djibouti and are heading out this evening. I'm at my normal internet cafe with them right now. I'll put up some pictures of the adventures in Ethiopia sometime soonish.

March 2, 2011

English Club Ceremony

So last night there was a big ceremony at the university put on by the English Club. This club gives students an opportunity to practice use outside the classroom doing things they want to do as opposed to what the teacher wants to do.

The festivities were scheduled to begin at 6:30 but in true Djiboutian form actually started closer to 7:45. What followed were speeches, poems in Arabic, Afar, English, and Somali. Traditional dancing and skits in Somali and English.  

Here's a clip of apparently traditional Afar dancing. EVERYONE should watch this video since it took like 30 minutes to upload with my crappy internet connection

February 26, 2011

Djibouti Jones: All's Quiet

Djibouti Jones: All's Quiet: "There were rumors of more protests to occur yesterday (Friday) but other than an increased police presence, we didn't notice anything like l..."

I have heard that the reason there were no protests is because some opposition leaders are still "detained" and they are waiting to see what will happen to them. So perhaps protests will start up again if and when these opposition leaders are free?

February 24, 2011

calm in Djibouti?

Djibouti has been peaceful this week. No more protests that I know of. The police are still out in force and there are rumors swirling that there will be another protest tomorrow (Feb 25th) but that the government has not issued a permit for this protest. As I understand, protests and demonstrations are permitted as long as they are registered in advance and normally the gov't has allowed them to go ahead. We'll see what happens tomorrow though. Today I saw a burned out semi truck or lorry if you're British and commented to a friend that today this street is calm but who knows what tomorrow will bring?

February 19, 2011

Non-protest news

Last week the world's only non-American nuclear carrier arrived in port. The Charles de Gualle French aircraft carrier was here for a couple days. That was enough to make the local newspaper here in Djibouti. I saw it walking home, it was pretty large.

Charles de Gaulle Wikipedia page

2nd day of protests and fatalities

A Chinese News Agency is reporting 2 deaths.

More protests early saturday

I was in a cafe tonight watching Djibouti News and they showed pictures of burned out cars and several semi trucks burned. There was even a gas tanker burned. Another friend told me there were skirmishes with police until about 1 am last night. In Belbela right outside of the city there were rock throwing protests against police this morning. Currently all the schools are on vacation but the university is not. Attendance was very low today at the university many students stayed home because of the events of yesterday and today.

February 15, 2011

Whats happening in Djibouti

Thats video from the recent student protests. Here is the site of the opposition candidate with some interesting facts about Djibouti. Here's one for you; the gov't provides 70% of the total employment in Djibouti.

February 13, 2011

2 more things to see in Djibouti

1. Coordinated dancing to Michael Jackson in public, in the dark. Seen near my house last night.

2. An Arab guy drinking beer while driving a car. I looked at him and he looked at me and just shrugged his shoulders with a quirky smile.

February 12, 2011

Things seen in Djibouti

1. A man wearing a t-shirt with a giant picture of Sadam Hussein.

2. large human turds on the street.

3. protests being dispersed with tear gas

4. armed police guarding University officials

5. A Canadian born Somali teaching in Qatar with a wife from Somalia. I met this dude on the street today and directed him to a passport photo place.

February 11, 2011

2011 or 1973

This doesn't have anything to do with Djibouti so now is your chance to bail.

I saw an interesting article today. The proposition is; if you could, would you live in 1973 with your current income, family, and friends? Because of inflation our current money would go 5x farther so I would assume that we would all be living quite comfortably.

Think of the possibilities; no technology dominating our lives, no war on terror, the 70's are the golden age of music in my opinion, we still have things like interstates, airline travel, gas is cheap, Michael Jackson was still black, its endless.

The guy who originally posted it here said he would not go back, he likes his technology and toys too much. But is that really where we derive our happiness from? All of our stuff? all the information we have now? Technology has invaded every part of our lives. I'm typing this on a computer in Africa for people all over the world to read. We can't even talk about or read about the effects of technology in our lives without using technology.

I'm voting for 1973. Check out another guy who also voted for life in 1973. I like his reasons for 1973.

February 8, 2011

Protests on the streets of Djibouti

The previous 3 mornings, students from the University of Djibouti have taken to the streets to protest their grades from the fall semester. These protests have taken the form of rock throwing, destruction of property, and general mayhem. The police have responded with arrests, tear gas, and though I have not seen this personally, I would assume beatings. The police carry large wooden sticks suitable for beating unruly students.

So most students have not shown up to classes even when the protests are not happening. I am scheduled to have a class this afternoon of about 75 students. However, the previous class period only 5 students came so I'm not holding out a lot of hope. Last night 4 out of maybe 100 students showed for my class and I canceled it.

One strange thing happened to me a couple days ago. The protests were happening a few blocks away and I was talking to another American guy on a street corner. The high school students had been sent home and were streaming through the city en route to the buses. A group of 8 or so girls stopped behind me and started playing with my hair. I turned around to look at them thinking maybe I knew them but nope. They told me they liked my hair. Thanks

Sorry i don't have pictures, also you will probably not find any news articles online about this.

February 3, 2011

the music of Djibouti

I hear this song constantly. In restaurants, on the bus, on the street. I think it is the anthem of Somali people. Check it out.

if it doesnt work heres the link to the video

February 2, 2011

Update: Protests in Djibouti

So it turns out I was wrong about protests in Djibouti. Not dead wrong, but wrong nevertheless.

check it out

Djibouti Protests

Their enthusiasm and passion simply takes my breath away. I anticipate big things in the future.

WATCH THE VIDEO in the link

January 31, 2011


Some readers have complained that there are not enough pictures here. Well I found some sweet pictures of Djibouti on a computer in the internet cafe so check it out. these were NOT taken by me. See the skinny road across the water? look in the right rectangle. Ok now see the white rectangular building? I live right next to it. Its a giant mosque

Protests in Djibouti? nah

Some have asked if I think the protests in the Muslim world will spread to Djibouti. Let me answer in a word, NO. Allow me to demonstrate why I believe there will not be protests of any kind in the near future in Djibouti, I present to you the Djiboutian national past time.


January 27, 2011

My Journey into Africa: You want your package?

My Journey into Africa: You want your package?: "Went to the post office yesterday because my wonderful friend sent me a package. I get there and go to the office for packages, but I went t..."

I got my package...

January 26, 2011

diverse readers

There is a nifty feature on blogspot that tells me the country of people looking at the blog. For this week alone, there were 10 countries covering 5 continents. Very cool. Some of these people I know, but some I don't know. Some countries were Spain, Argentina, Slovenia, the United Arab Emirates, Senegal, and Singapore.

Thanks for reading

January 24, 2011


Today I went to the French cultural center to watch a movie. It was called "Asterix goes to the Olympics." Asterix is a cartoon character, maybe you've heard of him? Anyways, its a kids movie and the place was full of kids. Towards the end of the movie as the bad guy was vanquished, the hero was winning, getting the girl, etc, applause broke out 18 different times. I know because I counted. At that point it was almost impossible to hear the film because applause was starting up constantly. Interesting way to end the movie

January 20, 2011

some highlights

This is post #50 on Dan's Djibouti Journal. I'm shocked that I have been posting this regularly but thanks for reading so far.

 I saw another group of teenage girls fighting on the street, the girls had to be physically restrained by some men walking by. I have never seen teenage girls fight in the US in public but this is the 3rd one I've seen in Djibouti.

Rachel Jones baked me a loaf of homemade bread yesterday! The bread here is less than good and Rachel's bread is pretty amazing.

I started my 3rd French class this week at the Alliance Francais. I'm planning to take a certification exam in May or June in French so I want to take as many classes as possible before that.

I'm currently on a break from the university, i'm not sure when classes will begin again, what classes I will have, or what my schedule will be.

I decided to fast from watching movies & tv shows for awhile. I have a hard drive loaded with movies and tv shows and i feel like i've been wasting a lot of time watching them. So i gave the hard drive to a friend and now i'm trying to read more and play guitar more. so far so good

January 13, 2011


Sometimes these posts write themselves. Last night as I was walking home I saw an overweight/obese white man getting out of an SUV to go into a pizza place. I didn't think much of it until I noticed that on the side of the vehicle, was the logo WFP. In case you're not familiar with that acronmyn, thats the World Food Program.

January 12, 2011

Jack Sprat and his fat wife

There is an English children's story/nursery rhyme that goes "Jack Sprat could eat no fat, his wife could eat no lean..."

This rhyme is epitomized in Djibouti. In general most of the men are thin or average. The women, however, are large. Starting around age 30 and going up women are "full figured" as we might say in the US. I often have to walk out on the street to get around women lumbering down the sidewalk, swaying back and forth and generally just taking up a lot of space.

On the bus this week, there was an especially large woman who took waaaaaay too much time getting off the bus. I wanted to just give her a push so I could be on my merry way but alas I waited patiently as she maneuvered her overloaded frame off the bus.

I'm pretty sure I know why the men are thin, many of them chew qat which suppresses their appetite so they don't eat. I only have theories on the women. It seems that it is expected that married women will become larger after marriage. Or maybe Somali women are just genetically predisposed to be overweight. I think men and women generally eat the same foods here so I'm not really sure why the women are so much larger.

I searched google images for pictures of large women in Djibouti but alas I did not find any. 

January 7, 2011

goats on a bus

I've heard a lot of stories about goats on the buses here in Djibouti but I had not seen it myself. Until last night. the men in front of me were sitting far apart which i thought was weird until I looked closer and noticed there was a goat standing in front of the bench. Now I have officially seen it all

January 4, 2011

back in Djibouti

I have arrived safely back in Djibouti after 22 hours and 4 flights from Barcelona to Djibouti. I arrived bright and early at 3 am Jan 2. I'm now solidly into the final exam period at the university with the next semester looming in a few weeks. Life is pretty much the same in Djibouti. My house was NOT infested with cockroaches, the electricity still works, and my water is running so there is much to be thankful for. On my way home I bought a copy of The Economist and read it, all for the low low price of  €5.50  or $7.33.

I forgot my camera or i would upload some super cool pictures and videos from Spain but like always you will just have to imagine it.