this week i

landed in lalibela, home to nine hundred year old churches carved out of solid stone - inverted construction. step one) find huge rock. step two) start chiseling. fantastic achievements,

only mildly dampened by the unesco-planted runoff shields and heavenly laundry service.
shared a plane ride with a young woman studying hotel administration in addis, also managing her own cafe.

she helped me find cheap, comfortable, convenient lodging, then treated me to a coffee ceremony, mutton injera, and an evening of satellite tv soccer. again, reservations for wimps.
witnessed near death-by-rickshaw.
video

spun through a saturday market.
video

found a philadelphia cheesesteak. in rural ethiopia.

was mistaken for a japanese tourist three times, must be the hair?

read both of the president-elect's books. i'm comforted by this access to his mind.
detailed summary - http://www.nybooks.com/articles/19651
favorite excerpt - "we both got better than we deserve, mr. president," i said, shaking the first lady's hand and hoping that i'd wiped any crumbs off my face. the president turned to an aide nearby, who squirted a big dollop of hand sanitizer in the president's hand.
"want some?" the president asked. "good stuff. keeps you from getting colds."
not wanting to seem unhygenic, i took a squirt.
p. 46 audacity of hope
i'd be happy to loan them to you.

spent an evening with 4/7,000ths of the village. we had a blind taste test to crown one of the three ethiopian beers a champ. this game works better in belgium. then, the theme game -

sleepy
arnold schwarzenegger

- and we moved to a traditional bar, leaned against untanned cowhide, sampled honey wine & zora dancing.
walked home at eleven, a happy hydra.

01/01/09