Friday, March 18, 2005

Splash that backside

What happened during my trip to the farm?

I made another attempt to quit smoking so with a nicotine patch on my back and no cigarettes or lighter, Fozzy and I made our way to the farm by cabs. Lots of work was being done regarding the maintenance of the plantation.

One of the things that was being fixed was the irrigation and drainage streams, using a hydraulic excavator. Everybody there seemed pretty excited about it. Lots of people were wondering why I didn't bring my camera. I don't have a camera so click on the links a few thousand times for me please.

Some of the water coming out of the pumps is leaking through the brick work back into the river, that means they're going to have to do the brickwork all over. It's amazing that this is probably the first time they're going to have to do since my grandpa was around. The roof over one of the pumps collapsed a while ago too. That means that will have to be done also.

We hired a cleric to come to our Motheef (guest hall) to do readings for the hussein guy that got killed over a thousand years ago, and for who the shiites start crying and get masochistic over. During one of the readings I heard one of the guests sobbing with his hand over his face. The readings take place over 5 consecutive days and are done throughout the month of Ashoura. Only a few people showed up for our readings, maybe because we're the stingiest ones offering only tea and biscuits for the guests (I smoke the cigarettes we had bought for the guests hehehe) or more probably because of the incovenient time we held the readings.

At around 1 PM, the cleric comes for an hour the first half hour of which he spends chatting with us casually and during the second half hour he gives us a sermon through a PA even though we're less than 10 and right next to him. We pay the cleric 10,000 dinars for each reading and there are 5 of these readings so that comes up to 50.000 ID which is about 35$. He might be doing about 7 of these a day, which would mean about 40$ per day. And this he does throughout a lunar month. I have no clue how long a lunar month is.

I met alot of people while I was there and I tried really hard to remember their names and I think I did a pretty good job. I learnt at least 10 names over 3 days. Ever since uni and cannabis I've been unable to store new names in my head without great difficulty.

Around about this time, we're supposed to be milling rice at the farm. What we do is we take the grain from the state company's silos and give it back as rice but apparently the state company has been suffering corruption problems. Traders have been bribing the people in the state company to buy their flawed grain, as a result the state company has bad grains mixed up with the good grains in their silos. What the state company's manager has told Fozzy, is that he's unwilling to give us grain to mill, because he expects clean rice in return and that can't be done if he the supplier of the grain is supplying bad grain.

We've got two new guards at the mill. Actually they're not new, it's just that it's the first time I meet them since I haven't visited the plantation in years. Anyway, one of them has a girl aged 8 and a boy a few years younger. I noticed that they're always about, and asked them if they go to school. They don't. I asked their father, the guard, why. He told me that it was their choice. I later asked Fozzy the day I left what was the deal with that. Fozzy told me that my dad had agreed to pay for clothing and had appointed the kids to school when we hired him and they did go to school for a year or two, but then the parents made them quit. Damn that guy should be fired.

The locals around the farm made a protest of disapproval at the Jordanian government for letting a family celebrate the death of one of their own. According to some news broadcast a Jordanian was one of the suicide bombers in the recent Hilla suicide bombing, and showed the man's family celebrating the deed. I also understood that their religion really hates Shiites and honoured the act. I spoke to my uncle yesterday and he told me that the news broadcast was flawed, I didn't quite understand the truth of the matter from him, I think it was something like the son got killed in Mosul and what was shown on the broadcast was a funeral .I'll ask him next time I see him and correct this paragraph next time. I didn't even see the broadcast for that matter. But it just goes to show that the arab media isn't very responsible.

The way back was somewhat of a pain. I came back accompanied with Fozzy's mechanic in a mini bus. The trip is supposed to take 2 hours. There were several check points on the way. At one of them we were told to get down and they took a look at our IDs. They also felt my bag without opening it, not a very thorough method of checking if you ask me, but what the heck. After moving for 2 hours Americans blocked the road so we went off-road not really sure where we were going for about an hour till we came to some other city and were back on the highway. Just after we entered Baghdad the 100-year old woman with leathered skin dressed in her black synthetic cloth started puking spit on to the floor right next to me. She only was a gross sight, to have gob out all that spit was really uncalled for. Fortunately, a few minutes later a couple of the passengers got off and I moved into another chair.

Today I didn't do anything besides doing a little grocery shopping and watching The Terminal. Hans tells me the story is based on the true story of an Iranian who got stuck in Stansted Airport and is now stuck in Amsterdam. I told him about the arab thing of rinsing one's bottom after a poo with water instead of just wiping it with toilet paper. There's something about how the backside so that when you pour water on it the water doesn't pour all the way to one's crotch which otherwise would've made it a really messy business. I've only recently converted to using a bidet myself. And I've even gone a step further by using soap. Afterwards I'd use toilet paper to dry my butt. Actually I don't have a bidet in my toilet because there's not enough space, but there's a hole inside the loo that squirts water not as convenient as a seperate bidet but just as useful.

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