Monday, March 28, 2011

Things I Find Fascinating #1: "10 Things Everyone Should Know About Djibouti"

Djibouti is a tiny country on the Gulf of Aden in Northeast Africa. I have been fascinated with this country since I was a teenager. I can't explain why that's the case, except to say that I'm a bit of a weirdo.

But since you've stopped by my blog – and thank you for that, by the way – you may as well learn a few key facts about Djibouti, if for no other reason than to impress your friends with useless information, or to have something to talk about with strangers other than the weather.

1)  How to pronounce "Djibouti":  It's pronounced like this:  jih-BOOT-ee.  I dare you to say this several times in a row, and see if you don't laugh. Or at least crack a smile. If not, you may want to check your pulse, because that is an undeniably funny-sounding word. Hear it pronounced by clicking here –> Djibouti

2)   Djibouti has 195 square miles of beautiful coastline, and sometimes we drop bombs on it, just to practice.  Here's a picture of two U.S. Navy F/A-18 fighter jets conducting bombing exercises at the Gordia bombing range just off the coast of Djibouti.

3)   One third of the population consists of nomadic herders.  The other two-thirds of the inhabitants live in the unimaginatively named capital city of Djibouti. Here's one of those nomads:

4)   Doctors here are extremely overworked.  There are roughly 18 doctors for every 100,000 people who live in Djibouti. Even so, life expectancy is about 60 years for both males and females.

5)  The population is predominantly Muslim.  Approximately 94% of Djiboutians are Muslim, while the remaining 6% claim Christianity as their religion. Every town and village in Djibouti has a mosque where people go to worship. Here's one of them in the capital city of Djibouti.

6)   When he's not sporting traditional Arabian garb such as the jellabiya, a typical Djiboutian man might be seen wearing Western-influenced apparel. Take this fellow, for instance:

6)   They write some catchy music that you can dance to, if you are so inclined.  Check out this guy!


7)  Arguably Djibouti's most famous writer, Abdourahman A. Waberi has written numerous novels, essays, poetry, and short stories which have been translated into more than ten different languages.  In 2005, Waberi was chosen amongst the "50 Writers of the Future" by French literary magazine, Lire. Among his more popular works are The Land Without Shadows (a short-story collection) and the novel In The United States Of Africa. Here's a recent photo of Abdourahman:

8)  Here there be pirates.  Being situated at the entrance of the Red Sea, ships sailing off the coast of Djibouti are often targeted by pirates. The Republic of Djibouti recently provided its port as a base for the Russian Navy to fight piracy. According to various media reports, a total of 217 vessels were attacked in 2009 alone, resulting in 47 hijackings. Here's a Russian warship in hot pursuit of some Blackbeard wannabe's.

9)  If a Djiboutian starts talking to you about IOG, that's actually not some locally famous rapper, it's their President.  Having ruled Djibouti since 1999, Ismael Omar Guelleh is so well-known amongst his people that they don't even have to say the man's name. That's pretty sweet! President Guelleh (as I am, unfortunately, not Djiboutian, I will not dispense with formalities here) supports traditionally strong ties with France and has labored to reconcile the different factions in neighboring Somalia. Here's a piacture of ol' IOG himself:

10)  If you're ever in Djibouti City and get a hankering for Japanese-Greek-French fusion cuisine, try the Melting Pot.  Located on Heron Rue Bernard, the Melting Pot's multicultural cuisine knows no boundaries that can limit its creativity. Conventional techniques are combined with the freshest ingredients. Their dishes are as varied as the people who discover them. Check out their Japanese menu below (hope you can read French):

Thank you for indulging my oddball fascinations. There will be more of these to come. I don't know when exactly, as they do take some time to compile. But hopefully, they will be worth the trouble.

SOURCES: Wikipedia, BBC, and other random places on the Internet.

No comments:

Post a Comment