Saturday, February 10, 2007

Hints to Don Ray's current mystery

In case the original posting didn't make the trip (I'ts so difficult and time -consuming to even e-mail somone -- much less post words and photos to the blog. But today is Saturday and I have a little bit of time.
I'm trying to re-post some photos that didn't make the trip before. Two of the photos are from outside my hotel balcony on the first morning I arose here in Blantyre, Malawi.
By the way, Blantyre is named after the Scottish city that was the birthplace of Dr. David Livingstone. He plays a big part in the history of this region (is it Livingston? forgive me if I'm wrong. I'd go to the Internet, but I'd probably screw up the posting.). Anyway, it's beautiful here. I'm going out later today and I may be able to tell you more about the city. I've ridden in a cab, but not really been able to walk around.
I'm including a photograph of my friend, Beston. He works at the hotel. He's put a lot of energy into helping me be more comfortable. I call him by a local nickname in the local language. I'd try to spell the name of the language, but then I'd be showing more ignorance. Anyway, I call him (spelled phonetically) Achi Mwaynay Tabo. The Achi Mwaynay part means "my brother." The Tabo is really "Table" but it sounds like Tabo. Everyone calls him Tabo, but nobody can tell me why.
Anyway, he was instrumental in helping me encounter my long lost friend (not really a person) that is the subject of the current mystery. I'll repeat the clues here:
I was able to see, for the first time in 38 years, a friend (not a person) who I saw regularly in Vietnam when I was working. It would be absolutely impossible to see this "friend" from the United States -- expect for maybe in one part of Hawaii only under the most special circumstances. I could have seen my friend from Nigeria, but not as well as in Malawi. But it didn't work out in Nigeria -- the conditions weren't right. And in Nicaragua, there was also the possibility of seeing my friend but, again, things weren't right.
I knew that Malawi was my best bet and, indeed, I was able to see my friend -- the exact same friend I had seen daily (sort of) in Vietnam. It was quite a thrill. By the way, Achi Mwaynay Tabo facilitated the encounter.
By the way, I didn't mention it before, but there's a great chance that Dr. David Livingstone was also very happy to have this exact same friend.
Some of my friends guessed that my "friend" might be a guard dog or sentry dog of some sort -- because in Vietnam I was a dog handler. One friend even suggested that maybe I was able to walk a dog around some site that needed securing here in Malawi.
Well, that's not the right answer, but it sounded like fun. I had seen some people walking big dogs -- dogs that were wearing muzzles. I asked around and learned -- to my astonishment -- that they use guard dogs at department stores and other retalil establishments. So on Thursday, after work, I asked my hosts to take me somewhere where I might smeet one of these dogs and his/her handler.
The name of the dog in the picture is "German." I know -- not too creative. But he was big and mean and -- to most people -- pretty scary. In fact, the woman I work with here, Pilirani, was not willing to get close to the dog to help me chat with the handler. But I learned enough to know that if someone tries to steal something, the handler removes the muzzle and turns the dog loose.
He told me that he's had to do that four times and each time the dog was able to recover the stolen goods -- or at least bring the fleeing thief to a bloody halt.
Indeed, the crux of the story is, when you're down south in Africa, you don't want to mess with a cross dog.
But that's not the answer to my mystery. Maybe it's a hint, however.
Can you guess the identity of my friend?By the way, I suspect that the photo of Table didn't make it. I'll try to add it later. Posted by Picasa

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