Saturday, May 12, 2007

Steam Yeah Baby

I bought a steamer for 50,000 ID and my pursuit for nutritional independence from Nahida perseveres. It's my first cooking appliance. It's a wonderful way to start considering it's impossible to burn your food with it. And the vegetables are tastier.

So far I've cooked three meals with it. The first I didn't eat myself and instead gave it to Atiya to give it a go. He said it came out alright except that the potatoes weren't cooked well enough. Today I gave rice a second go, the first time I tried rice I didn't add water. This time I don't think I added enough water but it came out alright anyway. And what's great is that I don't have to deal with rice stuck to the base of a pan as I would with the normal way of cooking rice. Come to think of it, it is really weird that Iraqis haven't adopted the use of rice cookers in the masses.

Have to admit it's time consuming cooking with it but the result I guess are worth it. The only annoying thing about the model I bought is that the LCD timer display takes about 20 minutes to work after I've started steaming. It's great to be able to break away from cheese or chicken sandwiches and fried eggs with the optional basterma.

Nahida is helping me out with the vegetables since I've yet to learn how to buy them, maybe I should go with her next time and learn. It's wonderful to see veggies in the fridge now. Right now, I've got a cauliflower, a green pepper, peas, carrots, tomatoes, and I'm not sure what else right now. I noticed that Nahida's slipped in an eggplant. I hate eggplants, but who knows it might be tasty... but no, I don't like them.

I've been struggling to figure out how to do a couple of reports for two classes taught by the same nutty lecturer. After spending all of last night browsing the net looking for something to write about I gave up concluding that I haven't been taught enough to make a decent critique of anything to do with banking or economics. I wanted to talk about inflation in Iraq for example, and I realised that I have no idea what steps should be taken to avoid hyper-inflation. I've got a test on Monday too, and it requires me to memorize a dump load of stuff in Arabic. Well I'm kind of used to that now, but it's a drag and I haven't started yet.

Suzy is getting awfully boring these days. She's just so incredibly empty and void of imagination. And I'm feeling that I'm beginning to feel that I've become her pet. She often ends our phone conversations with 'habibi' or 'hayati' (meaning my darling and my life). And it's weird because I'm not reciprocating all those cuddly words. And it is a trap of sorts, isn't it? I don't love her, and I'm not liking/loving her anymore than I did at the beginning of the scholastic year. I can't wait for the summer, that way I'd have an excuse to break contact with her. Because I know she doesn't write e-mails. She wouldn't even know how to. She has a hard enough time conjuring up a conversation over the phone and instead just yaps at me for being quiet and orders me to talk. So I've tried getting her to talk, but she's not interested in anything in particular. She's never even read a book. That was a shocker, she has never even had to read a book at school.

I just had an idea... why don't I just throw the idea of becoming friends again at her? Would I do it over the phone since 99% of our conversations take place over the phone or should it deserve being done face-to-face? How badly would she take it? I'm betting that it wouldn't change much except saving me from continuing to live in a lie. But it would be interesting to see her reaction.

Marriage is a topic that's been on my mind lately. The way it works in Iraq is that you're best chance of getting a good wife is if you pick her out of college. Like one of my classmates was explaining to me, college is a great place to find a wife. First of all, at college you can find all kinds of girls and second of all you can get all the dirty information about her, because you wouldn't want to have a wife that's been messing around before she met you if you were a typical Iraqi guy. My brother's wife is a girl he met in college, probably in his last year too. And my bro got laid with a countless number of girls when he was in college here. I'm still not convinced he married her for who she was but instead that he was feeling the pressure of his age. He was 29 at the time.

What are the alternatives if one was to not pick a wife out of college, well there's daddy's and mummy's match making skills. My dad's tried to hook me up with girls twice already. They both came onto me really hard and freaked me out. And neither seemed worth getting to know. My dad's come to the conclusion that I need a wife that's more like me and not your run-of-the-mill Iraqi bred chick. Nahida tells me that he's mentioned to her that there's a girl in Canada that he could introduce me to, i.e. send me over to Canada to meet. But what girl in her right mind would want to move back to Iraq with me in the first place.

The other alternative as described by the classmate I mentioned earlier was meeting a girl 'in the street' (that was the expression he used). The first problem with that is they're far and few between and he explained that one wouldn't be able to dig out all the dirt out of her past to check whether or not she has messed around previously.

There's always the last ditch resort: get a wife from the farm. A wife from there, how do I begin to describe that? What can one expect someone who's been brought up somewhere that's been more or less has been detached from modern civilization. Somebody that probably hasn't ever read a book either and has never experienced the internet. A wife who has poor cleaning and cooking skills. Essentially a woman that's just good for screwing for a few years before she happily lets her body go to waste. That said, the guys at the farm have explained to me that by marrying a local girl would help me out a lot with the running of the farm. It would create a relationship between myself and the family of the wife. The family of the wife would thus find it in their interest to assist me in the administration in my farm which for a great part is done through personal relationships. Personal relationships which I don't have and which are very difficult for me to acquire since I haven't grown up with the locals.

It's getting hot here. I mean very hot. It's not fucking hot yet. The difference between very hot and fucking hot is that when it's very hot a fan does the job of cooling you down. Fucking hot makes a fan just blows hot air in your face. The problem I've got is that I've only got one fan. I really ought to go get another one or two. The odd thing about my house is that when my dad renovated the bottom floor a few years back he choose not to install ceiling fans in any of the rooms except the kitchen under the assumption that electricity would flow normally and that air conditioners would be all we would want. Well I'm not a big fan of fans either, I used to hate the feeling of air blowing onto me and so that was cool with me. But I guess it was hard to imagine that since the beginning of May this year that we'll have only maybe 5 hours of electricity at the most.

The good news which I think I forgot to mention in my previous post is that Nahida's got us a generator line. In Baghdad there's two alternative electricity sources: your own electric generator in your backyard that runs on petrol and if it's a big one diesel perhaps. Well getting your hands on petrol or diesel is a big hassle considering the constant fuel crises. The other alternative is getting a few amperes of electricity from a neighbourhood generator. A neighbourhood generator would be larger than one used by just a single household. It would be run by some guy in the neighbourhood that would take a monthly rate for providing X number of amperes over a cable to your home. The number of amperes are just enough to turn on lights, fridge and water cooler but not enough to operate an electric kettle, microwave or air conditioner. The extra cool thing about the generator line that Nahida hooked us up with is that operates around the clock whereas most just operate during the evening, from sunset to maybe one in the morning. The thing that sucks about it is that sometimes it causes the lights to continuously blink on and off gently and it's messed up my UPS which keeps ticking along with the pulsating lights. But heck, it must be admitted that just having lights alone cools you down compared to sitting in the dark in the heat where it's impossible to distract oneself from the horrible heat.

Fozzy came from the farm today. It's been ages since he last came. The news is that terrorism has reached the farm. The head of the municipality, who's a relative of mine, had his house hit with an RPG from across the river that blew a hole in his guest hall. Well that kind of sucks. That was probably just a threat, next time it'll be for a killing unless he ends his involvement with the government and so on.

I should try to get to sleep soon. I've got an OR test tomorrow morning that I haven't bothered studying for. I wonder how I'd do considering it's the only subject I'm supposed to be good at.


Brian said...

Writing from Canada, here, where that girl your father is recommending lives. Just wanted to let you know how absolutely Neolithic your attitude towards fucking in university is, when combined with the search for the girl-who-didn't-mess-around.

Let me get this straight; you aim to screw as many co-eds as possible, and pick up and spread as many STDs as possible, and THEN you're going to search amongst all the women there for the few no guy was able to spread, and they're supposed to go for you with all your huge collection of crotch diseases? Is that about it?

Can you spell "h-y-p-o-c-r-i-s-y"?
How about "arrogance" and "ignorance"? Gah.

Janosch said...

Eggplants are really tasty and totally awesome. Especially since they have been mentioned in a Beatles song.
Eggplantpizza is the best.

Shaggy said...

I hate these occasions when I have to put a comment. But I have to clear this up before it could possibly spiral out of control.

What attitude towards fucking in university are you talking about? As much as I want to, I haven't got laid once in university. I haven't even kissed Suzy on the cheek yet. But point taken anyway because you're simply referring to the basic desire to screw as many girls as possible.

Just a couple of simple facts which I hope are true.

First: Iraq probably has one of the lowest rates of AIDS in the world simply because premarital sex is so strongly frowned upon.

And another reason might be because during Saddam's reign, I and as everyone else had to have blood sample taken at the border when entering the country to test for AIDS.

But you might be considering that I might already carry an STD.

Second: The vast majority of girls in Iraq are virgins until they marry.

Going back to the "search for the girl-who-didn't-mess-around". I was describing 'the way it works in Iraq' just as my classmate was explaining to me.

I wasn't giving my own opinion on the matter, but rather describing the circumstances within which I'm living through.

Just to elaborate on those circumstances: college is pretty much the only place one can mingle with girls in Baghdad. It's not as if I can call up one of the girls from my class in a few years time and plan to meet up at the bar and meet some of her friends.

It's not even socially accepted that I go to the home of one the girl's in my class.

Before the war there were social clubs where one can meet a girl in a family friendly environment but those aren't around anymore because of the security situation.

Now as for my opinion, I do agree that there is a blatant endemic hypocrisy in Iraqi society. That goes along the lines that it is quite alright and normal for a guy to have premarital sex, but that a girl on the hand should be looked down upon if she did the same.

But as for myself, I'm still not sure where to draw the lines on the matter. No doubt, if I was anywhere else in the world I wouldn't give a care if my wife was a virgin or not before I married her.

But in Iraq, I think I do have to taken into consideration the weight of the matter beyond that of just a simply ruptured hymen.

What does it say about a girl when she breaks the morals that are instilled in her from earliest days and which dominate the society she lives in?

I think (I'm not a sociologist) the bottom line has something do with how a woman earns her respect and acquires her self-esteem. The center piece of an Iraqi woman's pride is her virginity and then later her motherhood. Abroad, in places such as Canada, a woman's pride is focused instead on her achievements outside the family circle.

All that said, I'm not going to let a raptured hymen stop me from marrying the woman I love.

And I know I'm looking at my own personal marriage issue in the wrong way (fetching a wife from the farm, isn't the right way to think about it is it?). I need to grow up and hope I get it right at the end.

Brian said...

Very well-thought-out and considerate response. I guess I was taking it that you approved of the "screw them all but marry a virgin" attitude of your brother.

And FYI, there are LOTS of STDs besides AIDS. And since AIDS has a 10-30 year latency period before symptoms show, but all during which it is transmissible, don't count on the purity of your younger population. As a caution, a primary mode of transmission in Africa seems to be truck drivers who stop for quickies with prostitutes wherever they go, and then go home and infect their wives. That long latency period is a killer.

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