Arrived in Niamey Niger Niamey Niger West Africa Wednesday, October 11, 2006
My brain is tired, yet more my eyes are dry and painful. I finally am getting a clue to why these people wrapped their heads with rags.
The bus from Zinder to Niamey is about 12.5 hours of bus time, and one hour before and after so from port hole to port hole it was 14.5 hours of me traveling. The bus has no clematises or air conditioning, I knew this, and even positioned myself so I could control the window. May have been a good idea, however, I needed to also control the curtain flapping the whole trip also. If I can open the window, I can take photos betters.
Nonetheless, I am learning, the temperature got up to 40-42 centigrade today. Wow, hirer than I thought, at 42 centigrade it is 107 degrees Fahrenheit in the bus.
Ok, the temperature jobber is made in China and suspect, but I will bet it was 100 plus for sure. When the wind blowing in the window feels like a hair dryer on low, I feel like I am on the way to Basra Iraq again… hehehe
WHY SO MANY CLOTHES IN HOT COUNTRY? Same feeling that time, but hotter in Iraq, the, mind or mine is dwelling on this, in one of the hotter places to live on the planet, why to people appears to wear more clothes.
I mean, you think, they would be doing the loincloth thing; well the Islamic uniform is prevalent, so there is a uniform socialization policy in force. However, I am thinking about why, why do they wrap their heads?
ETHNIC FASHION A better way of saying tribal wear, or the fashion of all persons who try to dress similar, speak the same language and claim to know each other, the larger clan.
I think the headgear is about 70 percent fashion now, and 30 percent needed. If you see on camel, then upgrade to 70 percent need and 30 percent ethnic fashion.
I can think of many reasons to wear this bouncing up and down on a camel. I can serve as a towel to wipe my face, it can serve a makeshift way to have shade, it is absorbent, it will keep me feeling dry as oppose to sweaty.
It will hold my hair, or lack of hair in place, and keep my head from being sunburned. The black people have exceptionally thin hair in Niger, I need to observe when I go to Ghana, it gives the children a more eerie weak look, however when a man has his piece of cloth off his head, the hair can be thin also, hard to find this in a way.
The reason for the cloth is for the eyes, and the wind. Oh, go fish, not hard to see that it is for the eyes, sand, and such, but on the bus, the warm wind was blowing. The sun was a scorcher, it was Ramadan, and it was baking me. I tried to keep the curtain covering the sun coming in the window, however allowing the air to blow in the bus. Finally, in frustration because the bus curtains are of bad design. A good bus curtain has a track above and below, or the curtain will blow madly and not protect the people. Well, the curtains were one-step down from good, but SOP in West Africa and normal in Niger. Ok, I am doing this curtain control thing, and finally in desperation and tired. I pin the curtain in the window, close it completely and decide on now air for a short time. However, the sun is blocked very well.
I feel a sudden coolness; the hot air blowing in the window was actually making me hotter, not cooler.
I think above 100 for sure it helps or could be better. I suppose it is a long fashion lag and culturally will someday disappear, but men in the USA still wear ties, and they have no function.
A long piece of cloth has many uses; I can continually think of more, in sandy area, like when I am at the beach, there is a continuous problem of tracking sand into the room. I could take the Turban off, step on it, clean my feat, step into my tent, and shake or leave the Turban outside.
There is the practical Turban I see and the elitist; I want you to know I am someone Turban. It soon becomes obvious who is who.
So blocking the sun is nice, after about 100 degrees Fahrenheit or 40 Centigrade, blocking any breeze is good. The drying of the eyes is still a problem, I am going to check, and maybe they carry or have some of that Islamic cover the girl’s eyes materials with the men also.