Wednesday, September 30, 2015

San Diego and Denver Summer of 2015

I have been ignoring Camels and Tacos for several months. Apologies to my followers. I originally started Camels and Tacos for family and friends as a space to post stories and photos of our life overseas. When my dad passed last summer, I really didn’t fell like posting anymore. I came to the realization the blog was mostly for him. He was my number one fan and if I didn’t post often he would remind me during our weekly phone call.

The name Camels and Tacos is derived from: Camels=Egypt and Tacos= Tijuana street tacos-the ones you find in carts on the corner. Our favorites are the row of stands that take up an entire city block near the former Plaza de Toros (Bull Ring). Ana and I both like tacos. We thought the blog was aptly titled for our new overseas teaching adventure.

In 2013 when we moved to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia to work at another school. The intention was to create a new blog: Tibs Tummy: Tibs: think Ethiopian fajitas and Tummy: what happens if you eat too many oily tibs. Long story short, an executive decision was made to transfer posts from Tibs Tummy to Camels and Tacos. So our Ethiopian adventures are posted here.

Last winter our former school in Egypt expressed they wanted us to return and since the feelings were mutual we struck a deal. We are back in the land of Camels and Tacos. 

Below are scenes from the summer of 2015. 

A two-month old Ximena sporting her favorite beer shop onesie. 
2 days after getting off the plane, it was time for some punk rock.  
Slaughter and the Dogs! 
Spouting naughty English humor. 
Rock and roll! 
Didn't get much surf time in this summer, but I lived vicariously through these dudes.
Waiting for tacos in IB.
She looks cartoonish. 
Tia Monica came to San Diego to steal Ximena. 
Guess who showed up at our door looking for votes? 
President Donald Trump invited all his latino friends over to our place for a fund raiser. 
Davey Frantix gifted me his work vest. I bet punk rock pilots are stoked to see someone sporting the bars on the tarmac.
The house where "My Dad's A Fuckin' Alcoholic" was recorded.  Davey with his mom Big Sal who hosted bands such as the Circle Jerks, TSOL, etc. 
Being a good son. 
Free Samples tapes. I flew into Denver on two separate occasions this summer and it looks like the same amount from the first trip. I have a feeling these might end up in a taxi cab in Africa.   
Typical Denver July weather: flooding and a two tornado afternoon. 
And there is Bart aka Jet from back in the day enjoying a bloody mary and asking the waitress to marry him.  
Bart and I rode to see Jen at her dog grooming shop. 
It was cool to see an array of breeds have a face off the clippers. 
My buddy Shawn brought in his pup as well.
Matt and I hanging out with Tony Adolescents.  
The Weirdos.
Rikk Agnew acting normal.
Tony and Steve! 

Kids of the Black Hole. 
Stopped in Fort Collins to taste beer and see Ana's boss, Michael plus an old friend Brian who I last saw in 1994. Check out his tunes
Another friend (K8+8) we worked with in Ethiopia was in Denver. 
Denver Botanical Gardens is lovely.

K8+8 also tried to snatch Ximena. 
Audery and Ximena! 

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Goodbye Addis and ICS

Two years and out. Admin. co-workers, friends asked why we left Ethiopia after two years to return back to Alexandria, Egypt. We've had some time to reflect on this question. The most fitting response we could muster was, "Ethiopia wasn't a fit." It wasn't any single event, it was a collection of little things that added up.

For us, Egypt was full of life, movement, and distractions while Ethiopia was like being confined to a monastery. Everything we've said about the people, food, and landscape while living there is true, it was mostly positive. Our students were great, we liked our bosses and co-workers were fun to be the end we were glad the school didn't make much of an effort to retain us. Had our school thrown a carrot our direction it would have been harder to leave. (We requested to move closer to school so Ana could nurse-per school policy no special provisions are made to teachers and to the school's credit they stuck to their word.)

When Ana left to give birth back in the States, the void was exaggerated in an already lonely landscape. If it wasn't for the task of writing a book, I probably would have knocked on my neighbors doors often and medicated myself more than I already did. In short, isolation isn't conducive to a happy life.

Reflecting back on some of the last photos I took below reminds me how compelling the last couple months of isolation can eclipse an overall experience.

My favorite signs in Addis. I think the animal might be a cat or a mutation of one.  The animal has the option of using a paint brush on his right, but decided dumping a bucket of paint would better suit the task. Vandal-like tendencies. 
Kristin, the neighbor upstairs. She was devoted to Cheetos and eating on the floor. No exaggeration.  
More paint store art. Three colors in one can an Ethiopian exclusive.
Nathan was my brewing buddy.  
I made a series of phony "lost" animal flyers. My favorite one was of the lost hyena-a family pet. I taped a couple around town. I also posted one of a lost snake in our building's elevator that caused the building's management to create their own stating not to post posters.  
One of my co-workers thought it would be fun make a response. He made my day. 
Rob had scotch tastings on Wednesday nights. He also provoked people at parties with politics. I'm  sure people thought he was rude, but that's why I liked him. 
Tash spoke whatever they do in New Zealand and made everything sound dirty. I had her name in my phone as "Crotch Rash"  
Two fisted Nik let me beat him at chess. 
Erik, also had a way to weed people out. He could be very off-putting to other adults. I also liked him a lot. 
If you're single (or married) be ready to mingle when Ryan is around. Kudos to Ry for marrying a local (Habesha-not pictured) in record time. Who is pictured next to Ryan is the fabulous Downtown Jackie Brown who will whip you silly with her tongue. Stay out of her way and she won't bite.   
Mooch Goat. Don't leave your food unattended. 
Solomon was my local buddy from the commissary who told me wild Ethiopian stories.  
I had a vision of putting drawings all over the house. Then I thought i should be more responsible than that. This one has several quotes from the movie Apocalypse Now. 
After packing out. Screams Soviet era Eastern Bloc minimalism. 
Fuck yeah, we were.