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October 2010 in Tanzania through the eyes of an Englishman

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Vibratory Roller.

31/10/2010 - Election Day

Today is the day of the Tanzanian presidential and general elections. From what one can tell, it's likely to be a much closer run thing this time than at previous elections. Consequently there is some fear among the population of a Kenya-style disputed outcome that could lead to violence.

For example, our local supermarket, which is normally open on Sunday, is going to be closed today. I hope there are some pubs open, as I have completely run out of beer at home!

So far, the only interesting items on the news are complaints that some election agents have not turned up at polling stations, or turned up late, so that the polling station business hours will be curtailed, and that people who registered to vote are not on the lists at polling stations. I will report on further happenings of the day as they become clearer.

The work on our car park has proceeded at snail pace. We finally got a vibratory roller that seems to do the compaction job OK, but like all the other devices we've tried, it is a pig to start. More of the working day is spent doing that that doing real work. But it's getting there slowly, as you can see.

I've been very diligent this month, and the skeleton page for November, complete with all the links to the hit songs of 10, 20 ... years ago, is ready to go. All it needs now is the Nov 1 content, which depends somewhat on how the election goes. At the same time I've got the third dining chair finished, and a fourth one well on the way.

Overused and Under-Maintained.

29/10/2010 - Why Us?

I think that for three days now we have had a power cut in the evening, while people at the other side of the valley had supply. Our small petrol generator is now the only backup, the larger diesel generator having self-destructed ages ago. So far it has done its job, basically lighting only, but every time I use it I think "this time it is going to croak".

I'm a conspiracy theorist about this situation, and I have the idea that since the 32kV line that feeds our village transformer also feeds a military base to the west of the city, these cuts, right before the election, may be a message. Who might be sending it, and to who specifically or in general, I have no idea. I'm obviously getting fanciful in my old age.

The election is on Sunday, and the ruling party is looking hard pressed in the polls. It could be interesting.

On the property development front, the large vibratory compactor in the car park eventually got started up after a long delay and lots of battery charging. It was awful, difficult to use, and causing vibration levels that I thought could be bad for surrounding structures.

At one point it got onto some ground where someone had obviously left water running for a long time, and there it seemed hell bent, sinking inexorably into the earth. So it has gone now, and has been replaced by a vibrating roller, which seems much better suited to the job. Whether that will start in the morning remains to be seen.

Adia's place full.

Under construction.

28/10/2010 - Accelerated Pace.

So the way it's happened is like this. As I said before, one of Adia's friends has remarried after being divorced by her husband. In a nutshell, she is being harassed by the husband who divorced her, and so she and her new husband are in hiding here. Since she took us in when we first came to Arusha, we owe her, so we are letting them stay in the South House for a couple of months.

Now as it happened, Adia's friend had a lodger in the ex-marital home, the ownership of which is now in dispute. The lodger's brother is a mature student at the Esami college just up the road. He'd been staying at a hotel in town. Through his brother he found out about Adia's place, so he and his friend came to see it, and moved into two rooms the next day.

A friend of theirs also came to see where they were staying, and he also wants to come here with another friend, but we were full. However, the man who is currently the tenant in the Old Cottage has been away a lot recently, and is away again, so he has agreed that we can move his stuff, and re-use it for a couple of weeks, which is what we need.

So now there's the friend's vehicle, two vehicles that belong to a guest we already had, our vehicle, and the vehicles of Adia's friend and her husband.

To make matters worse, we were in the process of getting the car park finished off. So there's also the vehicle of the contractor who's doing the work, and a large vibratory compacter, plus occasional visits by trucks to deliver kerb stones and surfacing materials. Add to that the fact that we sent our gate man packing, and it's a madhouse here.

The guests all seem very sanguine about this. They say that the place is much nicer than any of the other places they've stayed, and by most standards calm and peaceful, and very reasonably priced.

Esami gets a steady stream of people like them, so Adia may have tapped into something here. Only time will tell. But if we can get the place full with people who are on company expenses most of the time, then we can proceed with development of the adjoining plot at a good pace.

The new guests also want to eat here in the evenings. They are here to take examinations. So they don't need the hassle of going out in the evenings

to take pot luck at some restaurant. They want to study, eat, study, and sleep. Adia is not used to this level of occupancy or catering, and now finds that she has a full time job, which is what she was looking for when we first came here. I'm splitting my time between making chairs, keeping an eye on the car park work, trying to improve the BEV web site, and extending my knowledge of JavaScript (check out the recent postings on the software page).

Suspect Plants

27/10/2010 - Certain Substances.

President Felipe Calderon of Mexico believes that the potential legalization of Marijuana by California will make the violence associated with the drug trade worse. Calderon and his counterparts from Colombia and Costa Rica, Juan Manuel Santos and Laura Chinchilla, said legalisation legalizing cannabis in California would send a contradictory message.

I have a question in this context. If tobacco - or more specifically nicotine - was put in the same category as Marijuana and Cocaine, would that make drug related violence better or worse.

It would seem that then, the drug cartels would have just one more drug to compete and kill each other over. The drug-related violence in Mexico, Colombia, and many other countries, could be wiped out overnight if crops of the common drug substances could be grown legally and sold in the USA, just as tobacco can. The same proposition would probably also wipe out the Taliban - there must be some parts of the USA that are friendly toward opium poppies.

Prohibition was attempted for alcohol in the US back in 1920 - 1933, and led to an upsurge of crime and violence - the Al Capone era. Does no-one learn from history?

The US and Europe should live up to their reputations for freedom and civil liberties, and accept that citizens have a right to make their own misguided choice of naturally occurring substances. They can do that now as far as alcohol and tobacco are concerned, and both of these are extremely addictive and complete with dangers. Fair enough, put warning labels on them, as per tobacco. Go further too if you like, and don't allow publicly funded health services to provide services to addicts. Privately funded health care would simply act appropriately to protect its bottom line.

As it is, the US particularly - the largest drug consumer country - is simply pushing off the problems of trying to stop people from doing what they want to onto other near neighbour countries. Maybe it should just legalize the whole lot, and let people learn to take responsibility for their own stupid behaviour. The other developed nations are not far behind, and are still mostly maintaining the same regime.

Yes, then there would be many drug related deaths, but they would be happening to the right people in the right country, not shipped overseas.

Probably by now though, it's a bit like 'the kings new clothes'. Governments have been telling people for so long that they shouldn't, that if they changed tack now they'd have a bare arse. On the other hand, think of all the lovely taxation they could levy on these certain essential substances!

It should also be noted that there are lots of other plants that contain mind altering, toxic, and possibly addictive pdrugs that have never caught on. People don't kill each other over them. They are allowed to grow in their natural habitats, and if you're dumb enough to go and eat them, be it upon you own head. I think that's a good general rule.

This wasn't what I had intended to talk about at all, until I read the days news. But I'm tired now. I'll do the other stuff tomorrow.

New TV.

24/10/2010 - New Electronics.

It is our intention, as we can afford it, to provide TV sets in the guest rooms and small houses. This was problematic in the first place, since we had satellite TV, and the cost of an installation to provide separate channel selections for individual rooms was a difficulty.

Now though we have the terrestrially transmitted digital TV - a Chinese outfit. The decoder is reasonably priced, and I believe it will get cheaper as the company tries to squeeze more viewers onto its system. They already had a decent discount offer this month, so we had got one.

The actual TV set though, was more of a problem. The available CRT sets, even the 18 inch ones, were far too big to fit on the shelf that is opposite the bed in the guest rooms. It seemed there were two choices. We could screw some sort of steel mounting frame to the wall, or hack the shelf to allow the introduction of a TV stand. The latter would have been an obstruction to some extent, and Adia detested the idea of a wall mounting.

So yesterday afternoon we went into town to see if there were any LCD screen TVs available that were close to our price bracket. For quite a time, it seemed not. You could get 22 inch ones, but they were pushing $400, which was more than we wanted to pay. But then in a tiny little shop that mostly sold second hand stuff, we found some new 19 inch Sansui LCD sets that were very much like a computer monitor - in fact you can use them as one. After some haggling, we got one for $233, which was more than budget, but doable.

As you can see, it is pretty nifty - fits on the shelf a treat. I want to get a light extension cord for it, since in its present position, it kind of clashes with the picture on the wall above. But otherwise, I'm really pleased with it. I presume that since we've managed to buy one we will be able to get other similar sets in the future.

Zai got a new radio too. She'd been sharing one with Wrega, having smashed hers by balancing it in precarious places while she was working. I think that loyalty should get some reward.

Wrega.

21/10/2010 - Another One Bites the Dust.

It has been confirmed by relatives in Bukoba that Wrega and Zai were claiming to be a couple. However, recent events have cast some doubt on the strength of this relationship.

Yesterday, when I got back from the Silver Springs in the evening, I was looking for my phone because I knew it needed charging. My last fix on it had been late afternoon, when Adia called me. In the conversation, she asked me where I was - as in have you gone to the pub yet. Such questions always rub me slightly the wrong way, so I remembered it distinctly, and my answer was 'at home, sitting in front of my computer'.

I was pretty confident I had not taken it to the pub. If I had, it would have been in one of my jeans pockets, which are quite deep and quite tight. I went back to the pub to check just in case, but nobody had seen it. So we searched the house to no avail.

At that point, my possible conclusions were limited. Zai has had plenty of opportunities to steal things, and has been a model of honesty, so the only remaining suspect was Wrega. Sure enough Zai came up with the explanation while she was playing cards with Adia later in the evening. Wrega had taken it. Adia was furious, and told him straight that he should bring it back. She told him the webcam on the computer had shown him taking it - a lie, since I don't have one.

But it worked. He asked to borrow a torch to go and search for it, and after a little time he came back with it, saying he had found it by Kiki. What an idiot - with an ounce of common sense he could have realized that the phone would definitely be missed quickly, and that he would be suspect number one.

Adia does not mess around. Wrega is on the bus now on his way back to Bukoba. Zai was virtually offered the opportunity to go with him, but she declined. It would not surprise me if she had been browbeaten into the relationship to some extent in the first place. I hope she stays, she's a hard working, good natured, and honest girl who deserves better than Wrega.

CCM Flag (flags in alphabetical order).

CHADEMA Flag.

19/10/2010 - Real Politik.

If I had any common sense I would avoid posts about politics, but I can't help myself. The same political party has ruled Tanzania since independence in 1961. I believe that for the first time, that in the election to be held on 31/10/2010 they will face a serious challenge.

A digital television service was introduced here a few months ago. It is reasonably priced, and many households have subscribed to it. The timing of this introduction may not be accidental. The news channels that are broadcast on it are notably lacking in any coverage of the opposition party. If you're quick, you might see a brief glimpse of an opposition leader speaking, but then the topic will be changed. At the same time, every word spoken by the incumbent president is broadcast, along with those of national and local ruling party dignitaries. To see an opposition point of view you have to disconnect the digital, connect an old-fashioned antenna, and tune in to one of the local privately owned TV channels.

This bias is just the tip of the iceberg. At each election, it is broadly accepted that the government empties public coffers - taxpayers money - like a piggy bank to fund their election expenses. Also at election time, this results in sudden increases in the price of public services to allow the continuing payment of civil servant salaries and other such tedious things. Our drivers licences happen to expire at this time, and when Adia went to renew them there was a notice displayed at the appropriate office saying that the fee had been increased from TS10,000 to TS40,000!

The polls promulgated by government channels give CCM a landslide victory, but ordinary people believe that CHADEMA has the advantage. If it comes down to a crunch, I have low confidence in the integrity of the voting system - it's controlled by the government. So it's possible that there could be one of those election results that results in civil violence, like after the last elections in Kenya.

Just on a common sense basis, I think that after 50 some years it would be the right thing to try a change. They could be booted out after five years if they did not perform. At present though, it's not clear that a party can be booted out at all!

Big Snapper.

Passion Fruit.

18/10/2010 - Mostly Form.

I remain glued to the computer. Doing a makeover on a site as large and varied as BEV is a non-trivial undertaking. Today I have made a couple of significant changes to the software page. First, I added a syntax highlighter that I hope will make the code examples there easier to read, and make the page generally more attractive. I also added an item to the RHS presentation - 'Squash this List' - that makes it possible to easily view all of the the choices there.

Unfortunately the syntax highlighter is not working well with IE (it's always IE - I seriously recommend that any reader still using it should switch to Firefox or Google Chrome). Keywords in the code that are supposed to be bold are coming out in normal text. It's disappointing but not crippling, so I have just reported it - highlight.js - as a bug to its Russian authors rather than trying to fix it myself. I'll get to that later if I'm pushed, or find an alternative library.

I will add the 'squash list' facility to the main page in due course. It works for me.

As for substance, well I thought my foot had recovered, but then it swelled up again. I just took some more Ibuoprofen, and overnight it went down again. The same sequence was repeated today, but the swelling was less. I'm hoping that by tomorrow it will have sorted itself out.

Harry sent the fish to us on Sunday - huge, as you can see. Then in the evening he came to see us, when we had already decided to go out, and had not cooked. I felt quite bad about it. He doesn't have a particularly happy life, so getting fed somewhere friendly by a good cook is a little treat for him, and we let him down.

Potter's battery seems to be much more perky now, with the intermittent overnight current leaks hopefully sorted. The down side of this is that he now takes five or six turns of starter motor cranking in the morning to start. Before the repair, if the battery had charge, you could turn him on, wait until the heater coil light went off, count up to five, and then he would start on the first turn. I suspect that the repair has actually left him in a state where the heater plugs - which were probably the cause of the current leak - are not coming on at all when the ignition is turned on. The little coil light comes on to make you think they are, but I believe that is on a different circuit.

I presume we'll get it sorted out eventually.

New Dining Chairs.

African shopping.

16/10/2010 - Form or Substance.

I have been in the wars this last week. For some time before I have had a ripening respiratory tract infection, which was getting increasingly difficult to live with. So on Monday, Adia dragged me to my favourite clinic, where I was lucky enough to see my favourite doctor. It's a Marie Stopes clinic, and I go there because it is inexpensive, usually quiet - so you get dealt with quickly, and because there is a doctor there who seems to know his stuff and who I can argue with. Technically, it's a sexual and reproductive healthcare place, but at the clinic here I have discovered that they do not apply any particular discrimination.

Initially he was offering me a hydrocortisone shot followed by 5 days of antibiotic pills, with no alcohol. I was not too keen on that, as long-term BEV readers will probably appreciate. So after a bit of haggling we settled on an alternative. I was to get the steroid shot (intravenous), and at the same time, and on the following day, an intravenous shot of some awesome antibiotic. That sounded like a deal to me.

The woman who did the hands-on bit was great - didn't hurt me at all. So by midweek, my chest and nose were vastly improved. Unfortunately though, on Wednesday morning, I woke to find I had a painful foot - localization, swelling, and appearance suggestive of Gout. I stuffed a dose of Indomethacin down my throat, and, lo-and-behold, by lunchtime it was worse. So I was pretty certain that it wasn't Gout. Indomethacin usually zaps that quite effectively.

I had had a similar episode last year, which the doctor I have spoken of thought might be the result of some insect bite. It was a little painful, but you know what it's like trying to persuade yourself to go and get an opinion. I hung on until today, keeping it at bay with Ibuprofen and Paracetamol. But by today I had had too much, and went to see the man to get the same shot as he gave me last time. I can feel the inflammation fading as I speak.

OK, so there's the substance, what about the form? Well in my incapacitated state I have spent some time getting up-to-date on web page technology. More specifically I have been giving myself a crash course in jQuery. This is a JavaScript programmers library, and I have to say, having belatedly discovered it, that it is way cool. Over the last couple of days I have mostly redone the stuff I use on the BEV pages to be in terms of jQuery plugins. So starting at the beginning of November, the BEV pages will be radically changed again, but the important thing will be that - I hope - you will not notice the change, except that possibly the pages may load a little more quickly.

Since I broke off writing this while I ate my supper, some time has passed, and my foot now feels remarkably normal! So I really have to get back to finishing off the new dining chairs.

Rescued!

13/10/2010 - The Chile Mine Rescue.

I have to applaud all involved for the remarkably calm, organized, competent, compassionate, and professional way in which this rescue has been conducted. Those first 17 days before the miners were found must have been horrendous. In the context I was very impressed by the cool of their spokesman in his shades after he was hauled up. The face of the youngest miner gave more an impression of what those days must have been like. I wonder if any of them will go underground again? A measure of their urgent desire to get out was that it prevailed over superstition. But today's the 13th. To hell with it, we're coming up!

They're not all out for some time yet, but I feel sure they will all get out, even if the rescuers have to finish another borehole. When they are, Chilean mining know-how and German technology will come out smelling of roses.

The Shenzhen Area.

10/10/2010 - Lost Friends Revisit.

Before anything else, I should remark that today is 10/10/10, under most succinct date representation systems. I guess it won't happen again until October 2110.

But now to the lost friends. Until a couple of months ago, I had a bunch of regular visitors from Shenzhen, in the Guangdong province of China. I also had a couple of visitors from Beijing. Then suddenly, they disappeared. I wondered if I had said something that upset the Chinese Internet censors (Whoops - maybe I've just done that again!), and I had been blocked. It is difficult to please everyone.

But now I see my visitors back. If you are one of them, please hit the 'Comment' link, and introduce yourself. It makes me really happy to see people from many different countries visiting my little enterprise. Believe me, however it may come across to you, I put a lot of effort into BEV, for what is currently a quite small return. We got one visitor who came to stay with us as a direct result, and he sent us another couple who stayed with us for some time. I am not expecting to get rich on the back of it, but it is good to know that there are regular readers out there.

So what else? Well, Potter's battery appears to be in its death throes yet again. If I disconnect it while the engine is running, everything works fine. The indicators flash at the usual frequency, the horn has its usual tone, and so on. I presume from that evidence that the alternator is working OK. The battery is charging in my 'office' as I speak, so that hopefully Potter will be able to start in the morning and we can go and get a replacement.

Burning Money.

9/10/2010 - A Cynical View Of Aid.

When people in the developed countries see pictures of people living with poverty, disease, and squalor in 'the third world', they feel a very laudable inclination to help. So they encourage their governments to provide aid, or donate to charitable organizations that promise to help.

Here begins a slippery slope. If you have given money to a charity, then a proportion of it will be syphoned off for 'administrative expenses'. If the aid is given by a government, then the amount voted will undoubtedly be reduced by the expenses of running the responsible government department.

What then? Well if the aid is given in the form of cash to a recipient government, then you can forget a large percentage of it. Most 'third world' countries don't have a Department of Public Accounting. They may not even have a sensible system of keeping accounts at all - that would be far too restrictive for the politicians.

So when the money gets transferred to a government bank account, the temptation is just too great. A proportion - who knows what - will get transferred to bank accounts in Switzerland or elsewhere before there is even any chance of money being spent on the target project.

After that, it will get diluted, since contracts to undertake whatever was intended will be granted to companies owned by members of the government, or their cronies. These companies will then present inflated invoices for the services they provide. Further down the tree, sub-contractors - the people who actually have the know-how and capabilities to do what is required, will know that this is bounty money, and will behave similarly.

Giving cash is therefore not a good idea - only a few percent of it will ever get to the sharp end. So instead, why not provide the required services or undertake projects directly. This falls down for many of the reasons described above. You can set up NGOs to undertake such work, but they will inevitably be staffed largely by people from the recipient country. A similar process of attrition will occur.

One of our guests has just come back from Dar, and he described just such a situation. Some European government had decided to make a serious attack on the mosquito population of the city. They funded the project, and sent volunteers to undertake the work while local staff were trained to take over.

The initiative was initially a great success. The number of mosquitoes in the city was dramatically reduced. So then the indigenous staff having been trained, the task of spraying in all the right places was handed out to them, and quite probably continued diligently.

Unfortunately, the chemicals they were using - still provided by the donor government, to avoid cash - were of commercial value. So they were milked off in some proportion - probably substantial - and the remainder was diluted. The spraying work continues, funded by the donors, but the mosquitoes are back in the ascendency.

My recommendation is that if you want to help, you should do so by buying products from the target country, or go there as a tourist. Similar dilutions will apply, but that way you'll get closer to helping ordinary people.

Red Sludge.

More Red Sludge.

8/10/2010 - Red Friday.

I'm just guessing, but the red in the Hungarian red sludge is probably mostly ferric oxide (Iron oxide - like rust), the substance that makes soil and clay red in many parts of the world. That in itself is completely harmless - one of the common substances at the Earth's surface. Eat as much as you like - you'll just have red shit.

However, Bauxite - Aluminium ore - often contains a good deal of it, and it would interfere with the process of making high quality Aluminium. Processing Bauxite involves treating it with caustic soda (Sodium Hydroxide), a strong alkali, and in consequence, the unwanted parts of the process, including the ferric oxide, are heavily laced with the latter.

If you put this crap into a pond, it will absorb carbon dioxide, and the sodium hydroxide will eventually become sodium carbonate, a much less threatening substance. The event that caused the red sludge problem was the rupture of a wall of such a pond. This dumped close to two million gallons (about the same amount as the Gulf oil spill) into the Hungarian countryside, killing several people in the vicinity.

It also caused local rivers to look pretty awful, and to be quite dangerously alkaline, probably killing lots of fish. People rushed to do analyses of the crap, and it was found to be 'unusually high' in Mercury and Arsenic content. I believe that 'unusually high' in this context means well above the WHO standards for drinking water, not that if you drink it you will be clutching your throat and issuing a death rattle.

The main problem is probably the alkalinity - the pH - but it's likely that the very large volume of water that flows down a large river like the Danube will mop that up quite quickly. This is not to say that there is no blame to be attached to the 'spill'. People were killed, and there will be many other measurable adverse consequences, and someone should go to jail.

OK, enough of the red sludge stuff, except to say that it's Friday again - chicken and chips night. Boogaloo excelled themselves. The chicken was tender and hot, the chips were fresh and hot, and the pili-pili - more red sludge - was almost as good as Adia's. It was also hot, and now I'm done on red sludge.

Oh! One more thing. The back and forward arrows in the tool bar (older, newer), now work the other way round. Someone whose opinion I value told me I had got it wrong.

My Office.

6/10/2010 - More BEV Changes.

OK, so I am going mad! I have added two new items in the right column. The first is a view of Mount Meru, which will change most times the current post changes - it never looks the same. The second is a window into a rarely visited part of the BEV web site, the 'poems' - I think technically 'free verse' - that I have written from time to time. You will get a random selection from these each time you navigate to BEV. They are of course optional. You won't get them stuck in front of your face unless you ask.

What I am trying to achieve is a very compact home page. You should be able to see most of what you choose to see without a change of page or a lot of scrolling in any direction. I can't eliminate scrolling altogether, but I'm doing what I can. This is a struggle for me, because I am not by any means a graphical designer. Suggestions for change are welcome. Packing things in like this involves a lot of scripting, which amplifies the probability that it won't work on some browsers. Let me know.

This work is done in my 'office'. This is a room that was initially designated as a store room. It has subsequently morphed into the UPS and switch room, and eventually to its present purpose. The character on the stool under the window is a Ganesha carving that we brought from India. Now as you know, I am not religious - an out-and-out atheist in fact - but I retain a healthy degree of irrationality.

The Ganesha previously resided in our bedroom, where Adia was using it as clothes hanger. I just had this nagging irrational feeling that using the deity of good fortune to hang your knickers on might not be the best thing to do (I'll be starting my hedge fund shortly). So now he stays with me.
Using the jQuery Tools library to do the posted content horizontal sliding - the Newer and Older arrows - I'm found that I had to click multiple times to get the posts to scroll when there were more than two. So once again I have thrown away the library and done a more specific implementation for BEV. Now I'm just using the plain jQuery library, which so far seems OK.

I have changed the 'Most popular BEV pages' bit to show links to the actual top 20 pages as extracted from the BEV visitors database table, so now I don't need to update that bit of the page each month or when I do a new post.


Tengeru Saturday Market.

View from the pub.

3/10/2010 - Tengeru Market.

Yesterday Adia had said earlier that she was going to go to Tengeru, a village or small town maybe 10km to the east of Arusha, to take a look at the Saturday market. I'm back to working on chairs, but I said I'd go, just out of curiosity.

Getting there would be no problem at all, except that there's a bridge on the main road where was a nasty accident a couple of years ago. This must have been escalated into a political thing, since although the scene of the accident is not what you'd call outstandingly hazardous. It's in a valley, and there's a bridge across a ravine. The gradients at each side are not unusual, and the bridge is barely narrower than the rest of the road, but with steel crash barriers at each side. Anywhere else I can think of, it would get a sign saying 'narrow bridge', and maybe some rumble strips. But no! Starting about a kilometre before the bridge, there are rumble strips and danger signs. Then there are a sequence of really nasty speed bumps that slow the traffic down to a crawl.

All in all, it takes you about 20 minutes to traverse a stretch of road that should take 5. I suspect the hazards introduced by the precautions cause more accidents than there would be if there were no precautions at all. You get dala-dala driver passing on the inside, and idiots in ATV's trying to pass large trucks that are badly affected by the speed bumps against oncoming traffic. That's what you get when roads are designed by local politicians rather than engineers - aargh!

I did one round of the market. The produce there does appear to be of good quality, and very fresh. Adia says it was very cheap, but whether it would pay for the diesel to get there is a moot point.

After my pass through the veg market, I found a convenient bar just opposite where we'd parked Potter, and waited out the rest of the process there. Adia went to look for sneakers, since her exercise regime has now more or less destroyed the ones she had. Speed bumps excluded, it was quite a pleasant afternoon out.

I have extended the 'oldies' links to include hits from the 50s an 60s. Basically you can forget 1950 - the 50s might get a bit more interesting at about 1955, but there were some good songs from the 60s, e.g. the Beatles, and lots of others, so it does not seem fair to leave these decades out.

October Weather.

Zai and Wrega.

1/10/2010 - October.

Well, in for a penny, in for a pound. This is the new look BEV version 3. I hope you like it. If there are things that don't seem to be working properly for you, please hit the comment link in the toolbar at the top of the page, and let me know. I should say that the XHTML 1.0 compliance logo is a bit of a cheat, since I have used <embed> tags for the MP3 players, which W3C won't accept, but if I comment out the music sections, the rest of it is. It was a lot of work!

A significant new feature is the provision of MP3 access for Octobers in the past - I'm doing 10, 20, 30, and 40 years ago, just the number one hits from Billboard and the UK charts. Some of these links will inevitably get broken as their host web sites come and go, so if you find there's a tune you can't play please let me know an I'll search for another source.

The most noticeable thing about this October is the weather. By this time of year it should be pretty hot, but it is still consistently chilly. Look at the night-time temperatures in the forecast - and this is Africa, close to the equator. I'm expecting my figs to drop off the tree anytime. Also those day-time temperatures in the forecast are a bit of a fiction. There's plenty of sun today, but the wind is cold and I don't think it will get anywhere near 30°.

Our helpers Zai and Wrega are starting to look like a couple. I don't know if there is any substance to it, but I would not be surprised. They get plenty of opportunity.

Speaking of couples, we have our first guests of the honeymoon variety. We did not see them for breakfast. Actually the woman is a friend of Adia. She got divorced last year and has now found herself a replacement husband. We actually hosted the Islamic wedding yesterday in our big room. Maybe this is a line of business - ecumenical of course!

It is Friday again already - chicken and chips night at Boogaloo - it is only two in the afternoon and I'm hungry already.

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Squash This List

Don't forget the retrospective pages, 1942 - 1972 so far.

What is BEV?

Brits Eye View is the personal blog of a 68 year old Englishman - Steve Teale, started in January 2003. It's currently about life in Arusha (Tanzania), and previously in Bangalore, Manhattan, and the Bronx. It deals with life in general, building a house, food and drink, computer programming, opinion on current affairs, 20th century history, and so on. It may give you some insight into what life is like in 'the third world', or encourage you to visit Tanzania.

I started playing with it in January 2003, when I was living in Manhattan. At the time I felt I was going nowhere, and exposing the details of my life could be no worse than not. Almost immediately I changed partners, and quickly recognized that while I might be prepared to live in a goldfish bowl, other's weren't.

The same year I lost my job - recession, exhausted my NY State unemployment benefits, and got a job in India. Consequently a large proportion of BEV was written in Bangalore. India was OK, but I could not see what I was going to do there when I retired.

This uncertainty was resolved when I met my current partner Adia in 2006. She was a Tanzanian, studying law in India, so I came Tanzania in 2007. Here we have built a house, and made new friends. The rest, you can read on BEV.

At about the same time I had the ridiculous idea of extending BEV backwards to cover the years 1942 to 2002. So far I have got to 1972. For the years 2003 - 2010, choose a year/month from the tool bar. For 1942 - 1972, choose a year.

Visiting Tanzania?

If you have done all the usual tourist destinations, then make a leap and discover Africa! Come and visit Arusha, Tanzania.

You can stay at - a great centre for safaris to the Serengeti, Ngorongoro Crater, Kilimanjaro, and of course our own pet volcano, Mount Meru.

Please feel free to contact us. We can tell you about hotels, facilities, prices of basics, etc.

We now have very pleasant bed and breakfast rooms available at $15 to $20 per night. Our 'South House' is also now available for longer term visitors.

This Month's Posts

If there's something particular you'd like to go back to, just click it here

Top 20 BEV Pages.

Exchange Rates.

BEV Software Blog.

There are a slew of new posts on the BEV software blog. The first was an article about 'Prototypal Inhertiance in JavaScript', a subject on which every programming man and his dog has an opinion. Mine is yet another.

Then next, I have described the jQuery plugin version of my comments system - TFC, and last, a simple CAPTCHA system based on an image of an analogue clock that I came up with for use in that.

Clock CAPTCHA picture

Moods of Meru.

Mt Meru

Tranquility.

Random BEV Poem.

60 Years Ago - Hits of the Month.

US Billboard #1

- Patti Page All My Love (uncharted territory)

50 Years Ago - Hits of the Month.

US Billboard #1

- Larry Verne: Mr. Custer (pretty awful, but I remember it)

- The Drifters Save The Last Dance For Me

40 Years Ago - Hits of the Month.

US Billboard #1

- Neil Diamond: Cracklin' Rosie

- The Jackson 5: I'll Be There

UK Chart number 1

- Matthews Southern Comfort: Woodstock

30 Years Ago - Hits of the Month.

US Billboard #1

- Queen: Another One Bites the Dust

- Barbra Streisand: Woman in Love

UK Chart number 1

- Police: Don't Stand So Close To Me

20 Years Ago - Hits of the Month.

US Billboard #1

- Maxi Priest: Close to You

- George Michael: Praying for Time

- Janet Jackson Black Cat

UK Chart number 1

- Beautiful South : A Little Time

- Righteous Brothers: Unchained Melody

10 Years Ago - Hits of the Month.

US Billboard #1

- Madonna: Music

- Christina Aguilera: Come on Over

UK Chart number 1

- U2: Beautiful Day

- All Saints: Black Coffee