Another Update from Toby

We had a nice reminder of just how sweet we have it at home. Barb & I were on two different computers writing up a storm when the power went out. We have been getting in the practice of copying what we write as we go so an undependent connection doesnt fail and leave us with an unsent message. Power failure on a public computer, though, means everything just evaporates, thoughts considered and committed to a post just leave the ether, and trying to write the same impression twice is really difficult. I can just imagine how diminished computer usage and internet usage is with unstable power and connections.

Random impressions:
Bathing freak out: Went to shampoo my hair this morning with the handy shampoo packet supplied in the room. I was really shocked when the shampoo came out of the packet black as tar; looking like black ink. Had a thought that my hair might be black when I got out of the shower. Was a fun perspective check when I thought about it. I am in a nation where EVERYONE has black hair. What could be more natural than having shampoo black.

Bicycles: There are (what we would consider) no men’s bike in the country. All bikes are (what we would consider) womens bikes. The main reason I have found so far is this: There is no such thing as a kid’s bike here, either. Small kids ride a bike either sitting on the frame between the pedals and reaching up to the handle bars, or standing up in front of the seat.

Bikes carry everything. 3 full sized pigs. A refrigerator balanced and held with one hand while steering with the other one. 4 people.
There are bike conversions that just eliminate the possibility of riding the bike. A handle is extended from one handlebar, another protrudes up from the seat, and a platform is rigged on both sides, which can hold 4 or 6 sacks of rice, 20 or more cement blocks, bundles that would fill the bed of a standard pickup truck. The frames must be good for more than 500 pounds, and with solid rubber, or rope tires the wheels are good for it as well.

All riding bikes have a good solid rack on the rear, and usually a basket in the front. The rack in the back is most often used as a passenger seat. Two school kids commuting to school both pedal when riding together.

Not good.
Visibility under a mile most always. Smoke from agricultural burning, cook fires, brick making, charcoal making.
Constant reminder that clean air, water, are luxuries. No room for nicities when there are no resources to spare.

I think I will cut it short. another power failure would really test my patience.