Sunday morning

Sunday morning. Got up, made myself some oatmeal, watched the screensaver of my pictures for a while, and then forced my self to head out to the gym.

Now, if you’ve ever been curious about why Ethiopian and Kenyan runners are so good, there’s a very simple explanation; the elevation. And, I’m pretty sure that’s why Rocky did so well in Russia, from all the training in the mountains!

I like to think that I’m not reaaaally that out of shape, it’s just that my body is being challenged by the whole 8,000 feet between me and sea level thing. I’m sure it holds some truth, and it is somewhat consoling. Anyway, I started off on a treadmill next to the window with a panoramic view of Addis. I ran hard, pushing myself. I’m not all that sure how motivating the view of a third world city is while your running. Sometimes I imagine that I am running to serve them, but I’m not so sure. Oh yeah, and the huge picture of the sweating muscled Ethiopian guy roaring like a lion reaches from floor to ceiling, is really more terrifying than motivating. By the time I finish I’m ready to drop, it feels good though. I take some time to take a break, stretch, and practice my speed on the fancy speed machine. Later I wandered into the circuit room and landed a personal trainer. He pushed my much farther than I would’ve pushed myself, so it was good. The machines are all so state of the art, and they work every part of your body, its great. This trainer was great too, he even yelled at me a couple times, very motivational. After doing the circuit twice, and drinking too much of a mixture of water and apple juice, I was ready to throw up. I stretched for a few minutes then hit the showers. I had a nice, long, ice cold shower. There’s no water at home, so it’s always nice to be able to shower at the gym. Afterwards, still trembling a little and feeling rather weak I grabbed a basketball and headed for the roof. Low and behold, I had the whole place to myself. In peaceful solitude I shot hoops, surrounded by a 360-degree panoramic view of one of Africa’s largest cities, while the wind blew across my face and the sun beat down on me. What an incredible view, how good it felt to stand and shoot hoops on a rooftop. It’s a rough life I’m living here. Life in a third world country can be rather deluxe if you have the money, its rather sad thinking about the vast majority who don’t.

A taxi driver I had the other day said that he used to be a police officer, but he said he couldn’t afford it. He was a sergeant but still only made 900 birr a month and was working 24 hours. 900 birr is around $80 US.

The best part about my peaceful rooftop solitude however was I didn’t even feel bad about it, because I know that I need to spend some time relaxing, some time for myself, if I am going to have the energy I need to pour into service. 90 kids are draining!

I walked around the track that surrounds the caged basketball court; the view was absolutely astounding. I sat down at a picnic table and soaked it up. I decided I’m going to start bringing my book up here to read; it’s so great that I have the whole place to myself! That’s when I remembered I’m a cracker, and realized the African sun was beating down on my frail white skin, I need to get some sunscreen. Its weird cause you’d think that the African’s wouldn’t mind the sun, but their always hiding from it, you even see people walking with umbrellas when the suns out. I guess we’re also 8,000 feet closer to the sun here than in BC.
Did you know Africa has a different sun than the rest of the world? It’s always the ‘African sun’ but you never hear of the ‘South American sun’, or the ‘Asian sun’.

Anyway I headed off in search of some protein, that’s a hard thing to find here. I’m pretty sure the most reliable source is eggs, but even they are pretty lean. Have I mentioned that besides the avocado’s, there is absolutely NO fat in this country? No fat on the meat, no fat in the eggs, no fat in the milk, and no fat in the cream! Now that I think about it, I don’t think I’ve seen a single overweight Ethiopian. You’d have to be very wealthy to become overweight here.

I could really use a nice thick slab of Albertan beef right about now, medium rare. Makes my mouth water.
Oh I saw some cool Indian cows wandering down the street the other day, they look like a cross between a camel and a cow. They’ve got camel humps to store all their fat in, since if they spread it out like a normal cow, they’d be too hot. Apparently the goats do the same thing but in their tail instead.

While on to random thoughts, I visited the Canadian embassy with Laura the other day, the only people there were Ethiopians though, or Ethiopian Canadians. It is a very lavish building; it used to be the house of a prince. Oh and I got hit up by a Californian drug dealer offering to get me anything I wanted, “This is Africa man, you can’t always find stuff here”. The constant twitch of his hands was proof enough that he was able to get his hands on ‘stuff’.

Back to today.

I decided to head over to Amen café for some scrambled eggs and freshly squeezed orange juice. It’s supposed to be ‘Fast food’ but like many other western terms that they’ve coined here, that means absolutely nothing. It’s kind of like the crosswalks they painted all over the city, and then forgot to tell anyone what they’re for. TIA

One Planet YearB cover

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