Where are you and where are you going?
Posts: 582
Joined: Mon Nov 07, 2016 10:19 pm

Re: Internationalist

Post by halfmoon » Sat Aug 05, 2017 8:31 am

Your soot problem may not be the gas quality. Try adjusting the air intake valve until you have only a blue flame, no yellow/orange. I did read of someone who couldn't solve the issue by adjusting the air intake, so she put a flat pan (pizza pan or such) on the burner and the cooking pan on top of that. Of course, you'd still have to clean the pizza pan sometime. Better if you can fix the air intake.

Posts: 63
Joined: Tue Jan 01, 2013 5:15 am

Re: Internationalist

Post by JeanPaul » Sat Aug 05, 2017 12:09 pm

Funny, we almost moved to AA in September - my girlfriend got an offer to teach at the university there. But in the end, after considering the housing costs, food shortages, state of emergency, and some reports of acquaintances, we decided not to (even though it's an opportunity that had seemed initially attractive enough to apply for). I'm glad to hear that you're enjoying it, though - definitely the weather and food were attractions, as well as just the beauty of the country.

Posts: 169
Joined: Tue Aug 26, 2014 10:15 pm

Re: Internationalist

Post by Noedig » Sun Aug 06, 2017 12:03 pm

Really appreciate the book reviews esp the Kapuściński, and running commentary on your re-uprooting.

I hope you solve the many inconveniences that come with moving. Not least of which, finding a house to live in.

I can recommend A Calculated Life by Anne Charnock (SF, dystopic) and Barkskins by Annie Proulx (Historical saga about logging. Don't let that put you off. Start with the very different Shipping News if somehow you didn't come across her before).

Posts: 126
Joined: Wed Mar 04, 2015 3:04 pm
Location: Romandy

Re: Internationalist

Post by Solvent » Wed Aug 09, 2017 12:50 pm

July Update

Disaster strikes. I moved into, then out of, a house. Exactly one week after moving in, there was a tremendous hailstorm that the roof couldn’t withstand. Water coming through the ceiling throughout the house. This is despite the fact that I explicitly quizzed the previous tenants on the ceiling integrity, and whether there had been any leaks. They reported all fine (and I trust them), so it seems it was just that the roof had gotten a few years older, plus the hail was more intense than it’d been for a few years previously. The house diagonally opposite had the same problem.
The house is being re-roofed and I should be able to move back in before long. Thankfully my shipment still hasn’t cleared all the bureaucratic hurdles so it wasn’t ruined by the water ingress.

On to the regular update!

Still light on numbers. My relocation payment disappeared into the ether, but this is for two quite good reasons.

Firstly, I secured a lease on a (leaky) house, and it is apparently standard for landlords here to demand many months’ rent in advance. Thus, I’m paid up for a good while. The landlord can use all that money to replace the roof and ceiling, I guess.

Secondly, I bought a car. Generally I’d be predisposed to think of a car as almost a consumption item, particularly in a country with substandard roads and dangerous traffic. Still, due to the somewhat unusual taxation arrangements here, it seems that actually cars can be resold multiple years down the line with barely any depreciation in value. The reason is that I can buy a car duty free – and duty on cars makes them almost prohibitively expensive for regular people. Over time, the liability for duty on the car goes down. This means the attractiveness of the car on the open market will hold steady or climb over time as the amount of duty still owing on it (which I don’t have to pay) is reduced. Of course, developing countries are developing – there are no guarantees that there won’t be a change in taxation arrangements. But I have to play the cards as I see them, and public transport, walking, and taxis are all fairly unattractive options in this city.

Oh, and perhaps thirdly, I stayed in a serviced apartment for a month while looking for long term accommodation. In the scheme of things though this doesn’t make that much of a difference, because the cost differential between hotels and regular houses or apartments is actually pretty marginal. This seemed to be the case in Switzerland, too.

Books read – The Road (McCarthy), Fooled By Randomness (Taleb). I bought the Incerto set for my kindle. I didn’t enjoy Fooled by Randomness that much, perhaps because those ideas (which were probably fairly novel to a mainstream audience at the time) were all a bit old-hat to me. I have already read Black Swan, but I am going to re-read, and then progress on to Antifragile. Since I have been mostly staying in an apartment a mere two minutes walk from work, I’ve had no commute on which to read. Actually, I won’t have any time on the bus to read here, so I will have to come up with a different reading routine.

The house I’ve just moved into is walking distance from work, 30 minutes or so. That said, walking is pretty unpleasant because of the pollution (thick black smoke belching from every third car, thin grey smoke from the other two), dust from construction, and lack of footpaths (or footpaths repurposed for storage of construction material). The main appeal of the house is not its build quality (see above!) or attractiveness (it is a bit run down), but the location – close to a number of colleagues, plenty of restaurants, close to modern supermarkets, quite straightforward and fairly short route to work, and close to one of the city’s few public parks.

Posts: 126
Joined: Wed Mar 04, 2015 3:04 pm
Location: Romandy

Re: Internationalist

Post by Solvent » Wed Aug 09, 2017 12:55 pm

Of course! Yes, it's probably the air intake rather than the gas. I was probably just preoccupied with the rest of the pollution in this city.

I'm not sure about the beauty of the country just yet. It'll be great to get out of the city some, but yeah the state of emergency makes it less appealing. From reports of local colleagues it also seems not the easiest place to travel with a baby/toddler.

Thanks for the recommendations and support.

Posts: 514
Joined: Mon Jan 30, 2017 8:37 am

Re: Internationalist

Post by Jason » Wed Aug 09, 2017 1:43 pm

I try to knock off the "greatest" works of literature list. I understand its subjective but there is usually a general consensus on most works.

I tried to get through McCarthy's Blood Meridian and I just couldn't do it. It was just too dense a forest. He's the type of person who's genius must be a great burden.

User avatar
Posts: 25
Joined: Mon Jul 24, 2017 9:13 am

Re: Internationalist

Post by onewayfamily » Sun Aug 20, 2017 2:36 pm

I think you'll enjoy Antifragile the most.

With the walking-commute can you find a slightly/moderately longer route that passes mostly through parks and side-streets to avoid the car pollution - I always hated it as well and was able to find a route that went through mostly parks and a golf course when I was riding to work still.

Posts: 126
Joined: Wed Mar 04, 2015 3:04 pm
Location: Romandy

Re: Internationalist

Post by Solvent » Mon Oct 02, 2017 10:27 am

August/September 2017

Well, my life in Addis has turned into an unrelenting disaster. It's not ruined beyond comprehension yet, there is still room for things to turn around, but I've had a dreadful run of bad luck. This is not completely the city's fault, but it certainly plays its part.

Let's see, my house pretty much flooded, which was detailed earlier. As well as numerous bouts of food poisoning I also contracted typhoid. I've had three people/groups of people try to pickpocket me, fortunately none yet succeeded. One group was physical and this came close to being a violent situation. In September, we went a weekend without water supply to the house, that was fun. Around the same time we started getting pretty much daily blackouts. It does vary, but three or four days a week we seem to only get about four hours of power. Prior to living here I had never been involved in a car accident. Nevertheless, only a week after finally getting the paperwork sorted so that I could drive my car, I got into a minor scrape after a jerk minivan driver overtook me, swerved in front of me, and promptly parked (oh, it's common practice to park in the middle of the road here by the way) to let off passengers. It wasn't serious, but it was a bit intimidating the way a large crowd gathers around to enjoy the show and lean against your vehicle. Lastly and most seriously, my family experienced a medical emergency that I won't detail here. Due to the poor state of hospitals in Addis it was recommended that we temporarily evacuate to a nearby, more prosperous country, one with a better-equipped hospital, in case of complications. No complications have occurred yet and we're back in Ethiopia, but it was the most horrible week of my life.

It's a shitty situation all around.

I'm not selfish enough to think that living in a very poor country means that these calamities are a necessary occurrence for everyone. Plenty of other people seem to get on in this city just fine. But I'm not sure if I'm going to be one of them. The crap that's been happening to me makes it difficult to stay positive.

I did track expenditure for September. Savings rate was about 40%.

Books read: only one finished this month, I think. I've been distracted by life events. Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close (Foer). Nowhere near as good as his debut, Everything is Illuminated. Still kind of interesting – it really made me want to go back to New York (I only spent a week there for work a few years back). Terribly sad, as was Everything is Illuminated, but I didn't feel like it taught me anything. Related – I watched the film version of Everything is Illuminated, and I felt like it was a pretty good effort at translating the book. Right up until the ending, which was nowhere near as powerful. I think the ending of the book should have been possible to translate to film, and I'm not sure why they altered it the way they did. Still worth a watch in my opinion.
onewayfamily wrote:
Sun Aug 20, 2017 2:36 pm
With the walking-commute can you find a slightly/moderately longer route that passes mostly through parks and side-streets to avoid the car pollution - I always hated it as well and was able to find a route that went through mostly parks and a golf course when I was riding to work still.
I don't think this is possible in Addis. Parks aren't prevalent here. In addition, walking through sidestreets would be both highly circuitous and probably increase my risk of further attempted muggings.

Posts: 411
Joined: Sun Jan 11, 2015 10:06 pm

Re: Internationalist

Post by Felipe » Fri Oct 13, 2017 5:08 am

I have to ask, why are you staying somewhere so dangerous when there are many safe, low cost of living cities in the world?

Post Reply