14 September 2007

indiscriminate rambling

Have you got a minute?

I think we bought Halaal toothbrushes this week. The only word that wasn’t written in Arabic was Colgate. Come to think of it, I don’t think a toothbrush can be Halaal, but that won’t change the fact that I can’t read a word of the packaging.

A lot of things around here are certified Halaal (which is to Islam as Kosher is to Judaism). I mentioned that we live in a heavily saturated area, with Muslims all over the place. So, restaurants all have to show that their food is Halaal, meaning the animals were butchered in a certain way, etc…

More from the Muslim world: It’s Ramadan!! You can Google that if you’re curious.

Finally, do you know what Shari’ah law is? No? Head back to Google (or the Wikipedia) and find out. Then, marvel with me that the local ABSA Bank is now offering “Shari’ah banking solutions for Muslims.” Imagine a US bank offering “Christian banking solutions.” Automatic tithe withdrawals, etc… That would be interesting.

Let’s move on…

I mentioned the Rugby World Cup is going on. Stef and I actually watched about 5 minutes of it the other night, as the USA was playing Togo (or some other tiny island nation). We don’t know what happened really. We just enjoyed hearing “USA” over and over again. By the way, I think Togo beat the Americans. U-S-A!! U-S-A!!

Also happening right now (and here in Joburg) is the Cricket Twenty20 World Cup, which is apparently some big deal and some new adaptation of cricket. It would be like shortening a baseball game to 4 innings and only letting each pitcher go one inning. Or maybe it’s nothing like that, but you won’t know the difference so let’s leave it at that.

The point of me telling you about these two sports events is this: We have 4 channels on the television. SABC1, SABC2, SABC3, and eTV. Rugby is on SABC2 all of the time. Cricket is on SABC3 all of the time. This means that we are left with SABC1, which is all African-language programming and eTV, which mostly shows Jean Claude Van Damme movies and Walker Texas Ranger reruns. Good times.

The Economist might be the greatest magazine in the history of the world. Thought you should know.

Is it possible to eat too much peanut butter? Seriously, if anyone runs across a New England Journal of Medicine study showing peanut butter being linked to some horrifying disease, please send me and Stef a copy.

I’ve been preaching every Sunday here. That is weird, huh? Hopefully, I do a lot less “preaching” than teaching. Still…

Michael Popp sent me an interesting email. Apparently, if you Google “fountain drink infrastructure south africa” our blog is fourth on the list. Even better, if you Google “stef aria sunglasses” we come in with the top spot. Life doesn’t get much sweeter. The cotton doesn’t get much taller. We should get commemorative t-shirts. Someone look into that.

It was about 150 degrees here yesterday. It’s never supposed to get hot in Joburg. Of course, the absence of rain for the last decade might have something to do with it. Still, it doesn’t matter how hot it gets, we will not miss the South African winter.

Since South Africa is hosting the 2010 Soccer World Cup, their national team automatically makes the tournament. This could be more disastrous than a bus-load of drunk German tourists ending up in the wrong Joburg neighborhood after dark. Just know that the South Africans lost to Zambia 3-1 this week. That's Zambia, where the average annual wage is $490 dollars. And, I might be crazy, but I Zambia had 4 or 5 guys on the field who may or may not be sponsored World Vision children. African soccer!! Catch the excitement!!

Has anyone noticed that Stef can sing? Just wanted to make sure you knew that.

Just a question: Why do UN troops bother to wear camouflage under their powder blue helmets and flak jackets? I mean, seriously… They could wear bright orange “Hammer-pants” and Seinfeldian puffy shirts under those things. There is not a way on earth that they could be more noticeable.

Finally, we braved the terrors of downtown Joburg (really, it’s not that bad – just dirty and crowded and smelly and murderous) twice this week to go about getting an extension on our Temporary Residence Visas. It’s exhilarating actually, but I don’t like for Stef to be somewhere that is so seedy. Still, to be in the center of 1 million people all shouting and running and scratching away an existence…it’s neat. Anyway, for about $130 (cheaper than I expected) we are both allowed to be here for another 3 months. We have to go back in two weeks to pick up the updated permits. I’ll snap some photos to give you an idea of what it’s like. (Or someone will steal our camera and beat me up. Start taking bets now - And have a good weekend.)

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