Monday, September 12, 2011

Somaliland Cont.

My friend and former roomie Danny's trials and tribulations in Somaliland:
So things are finally starting to pick up. Before Hargeisa seemed like a dusty ghost town being aggressively gentrified by goats. That was because during Ramadan people could neither eat, drink or chew Qat (the local drug of choice, a stimulant plant that is probably easiest to describe as the Middle-East’s coke), during the daytime. So when you live in a hot semi-arid climate and you can’t eat, drink, or get high, it’s best policy to just hang out at home. So now that that is over people are out and about and working. I have experienced numerous consumer-based revelations, but none of them are actually worth mentioning.
 However things are still really fucking boring. After 4, when most people stop working (of those that do work, because unemployment is an issue here) most men just sit around and get high. By most I mean all. Except there are a few cafes that seem pretty popular, but they are occupied primarily old men. I asked a few people about this and it turns out that the people who go to the cafes are the ones who can’t get high because of health reasons. So it seems that they, along with this white boy, are shit out of luck. There really is nothing else to do. No movie theaters, malls, bowling alleys, dance halls, cock fighting matches, or even bars (as this is a Muslim country and alcohol is illegal here). So for foreigners who don’t want to get high, and decrepit old men who can’t get high, there is literally nothing to do once the workday ends. So fortunately my hotel room has cable TV, and several channels from Dubai that show American television shows. Needless to say, I have become a huge fan of Project Runway.
A few days ago I did hang out with a kid from London who got high on Qat with a few of his friends. It was a lot like being around people that smoke pot, as in they sit around, drink a lot of water, and just want to listen to music and not talk to anyone. However they didn’t eat anything, because Qat serves as an appetite suppressant and notoriously quells hunger pains, a big boon when you live in a semi-arid region that experiences frequent droughts and famines. They offered to get me some alcohol, but it took some time. Apparently the town was almost dry (figuratively) because lots of people drank alcohol during the traditional feast celebrating the end of Ramadan. I found this to be ironic that people would use alcohol on a significant religious holiday of a faith that is famous for its requirement that people abstain from alcohol consumption. So I eventually got my bottle of, “Scotch” which cost 40 dollars. I’m pretty sure it was less scotch and more turpentine and food coloring, and I don’t think I’ll make that mistake a second time…..maybe. Apparently pre-marital sex is also becoming more prominent, and for hours these guys were calling girls to try to get them to come over. I really wanted to see some hot young Muslim pre-nuptial action, but nothing happened. 
Question to the audience: Does anyone knowing anything about goat herding practices. They wonder the streets with impunity and without supervision or any discernable markings/brandings. How does that work? How do pastors keep track of their livestock?

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