Monday, September 19, 2011

Down Town Dijibouti and K-9 in afternoon

Children are Children no matter were you are.

So this is a Khat stand- AKA African Salad
To know about downtown you need to know, in Djibouti there is a legal drug (the queen is in charge of distribution) called Khat, pronounced “cot”. It overruns the people, when we got down town you can tell they are hammered.

Khat originates from the Catha Edulis shrub, which grows abundantly in parts of East Africa and is all over the streets here.

It is so hot they will crowd just to get out of the sun

I really didn’t like downtown, It was everything I hate about cities. Swarms of poor people trying to sell you stuff and beg for money- I know they were eying to pickpocket me so Downey and I tried to cover each other. Everyone is high on Khat- a legal drug that could be compared to coke and is trying to sell you junk meanwhile they are hopped up and touchy feely trying to get you in there shop.

Cafes are everywhere but empty
 Although khat is legal in certain parts of Europe, East Africa, and the Arabian Peninsula, it is illegal in the US. Also used as a religious drug. Commonly used by natives.
During the celebration of Ramadan, khat is used to relieve fatigue and reduce appetite. In certain social environments, khat is used in place of booze. According to Arab journals from the 13th century, physicians have used khat to treat depression and lack of energy. Peasants in certain cultures who worked long hours also used this stimulant to keep on keeping on.

Coke is the drink of choice here
In Ethiopia, for example, khat is the fourth largest export. After being cut from a 10 to 20 ft. tall shrubs, khat leaves are bundled in plastic bags or banana leaves so the moisture and freshness of the active ingredients in the plant are retained as it is smuggled into other countries.

Khat is taken orally as a tea, chewed like chaw, smoked, or sprinkled on food. The stimulant effect of khat is most effective when the leaves are still fresh

The effect of khat on the brain and spinal cord is similar to that of amphetamines, which are stimulated through synapses. Fatigue is alleviated, appetite is reduced, attention span is decreased, and levels of alertness and motor activity are increased.
Users can quickly develop dependency to the drug, which increases their confidence, friendliness, and contentment which explains allot about downtown.. Hallucinations, grandiose delusions, and paranoia have also been noted as side effects of using khat

Four wheel drive

Addiction, Tolerance, and Withdrawal
There is no specific physical addiction to khat; however, there is a psychological dependence. Regular users of khat can develop a psychological dependency to the drug. Signs of withdrawal include minor laziness, mild depression, nightmares, and slight tremor. Consistent usage can increase the risk for psychological dependence that is moderate but persistent.

The French Colonized but with a twist of Muslim. These are Muslims that have no problem drinking and celebrating French holidays but still hit the mosque weekly. We drove over and saw the American Embassy- We got pulled over and asked to erase our photos- The guy was really cool, he said he can’t make us erase them but would appreciate it- so I did of course.
The Kempinski is a 5 star hotel off the beat and path- Djibouti has some of the best scuba diving in the world. Allot of rich french and British come here to scuba. We stopped in and looked around, grabbed a cup of great coffee and relaxed by the pool a bit.

The crew at The Kempinski

We had a tour guide Maddie who was awesome. It was his birthday and he starts working as a translator next week for the US. He speaks 6 languages.

We got back to the base and went to the security guard area. We were telling street jokes and laughing but it really stuck with me and was heavy to my heart seeing those young kids covered in mud and begging for food. We were not allowed to give them anything until we left and a saw why. Once one child got a piece of food they came out in swarms and almost surrounded the bus like something out of a zombie movie. Even now a week later I feel sick to my stomach knowing there are people like that out there, suffering that badly.
Heading to the K-9 Unit.

We stopped back over with the K-9's- they are so cool and visited them on a non working day and these dogs are like normal everyday dogs, laying on the couch getting belly rubs and cuddling.
If you would want to adopt a military retired dog click here Military Dogs.
We said allot of places after the show people buy us drinks but in Djibouti- because of” "rations” they only get 3 beers so after the show the guys are like- Your funny…. But not funny enough to get one of my beers.