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mid-week link love

Together, we’ll make it through (Wednesday). As we go, a few links for you from around the interwebs.

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on the beach

I spent childhood summers on the South Carolina coast eating tuna sandwiches with my maternal family, sipping Fresca while the grownups sipped from Canadian beer cans sweating inside fluorescent coozies. I have fond memories of sunscreen, mysteriously persistent sunburns, salt-soaked bathing suits, toes reaching for sandbars, catching crabs in freshwater inlets, and searching for shells at low tide. Nevertheless, I’m no beach lover. Vacation destinations, as far as I’m concerned, should be temperate and ideally windy, cozy, even rainy. What can I say, I’m a cold weather enthusiast. Yet when a tropical coastline beckons, and the timing works out, only a fool would resist. So I found myself in Zanzibar on Nungwi Beach, at the island’s northern tip, slathering sunscreen, kicking sand, and marveling at breathtaking scenery. Blue hues dominate Nungwi, reminding me of another of my favorite destinations. The pace is slow, as it ought to be, and relaxation is the permanent modus operandi, a challenge for a stress-prone tourist trying desperately to wind down from a new gig. Fortunately I had some help in that department from my …

on a boat

Early March, and the dry season continues. A boat tour didn’t sound particularly, well, wet. As it urns out, there is water to be had, and plenty of it, if you’ve got the spirit and a knowledgeable guide.

on the invasion

Where I come from, you make an invitation to the morning. The morning waits for you, at your leisure, until you’re ready to ease back the curtains, slide into slippers, and entertain the gentle follies of birds beyond the window. Not so, in this place. Here, the morning creeps into you, pries you open, and delivers a weighty blow. It starts with the noise, and the noise starts early: a 5am call to prayer from the mosque across the street. and then the heat, lingering just beyond the front door. the brazen sun has no need for stalking; it lies still, waiting for victims to stumble out of their homes and into its stifling trap. Once you’re there, the blurred white noise of the street crystalizes into its thousand pieces, and they come at you from all angles: a cow bellows, ambling by; a huddle of goats next door gab through breakfast; motos tip and dip across holes puckering the dirt road; neighbors call out and chatter; children shriek and cry; dogs bark, hammers clank. …

on not knowing

the accumulation of Things I Do Not Know has reached impressive proportions: i do not know the roads here, or the routes, or most destinations. i do not know half of what people say, or how i’m to feel about it, or how to reply. i do not know how to do my job, or whether i’ll be any good, or whether i’ll find it satisfying. i do not know what’s in most of the food i eat, how to cook over a gas tank, or recognize the things for sale at market. i do not know when to engage strangers, or how, or whether i appear as foreigner or fool when I idle in the street. i do not know how to be funny here, or when to smile, and I can’t quite figure out the tortoise who lives in the yard. and yesterday i realized that i Do Not Know how to tie a bathrobe. the string on the outside and the string on the inside and the loops on the seams don’t …