Ladies and gentlemen, I give you… the Fish Pedicure

Had a long layover in the Singapore airport on my way to Cambodia to do some interviews for the book. What to do? Why, visit the Fish Spa, of course, where you can allow hundreds of ravenous doctor fish to feast on your dead skin cells while you watch and try not to freak out.

I've only had one human-hands pedicure to compare this to, but this was every bit as efficient.  And way, way ookier.

Get a Big Box of Electricity Here

Another pic from the Africa trip — this sign was all over Kigali, and it always made me smile:

The way they're electrifying the country now is, well, electrifying. But the way the sign is phrased, I couldn't help but imagine they had these big tubs of the stuff sitting around on shelves.

You come in, maybe carrying a cardboard box or a plastic bag, and they pour you a bunch, with lots of little sparks dripping down the sides, and you go on your way.

Almost 50 years of Tanzanian history in one photo

Glimpsed on the street in Stone Town, Zanzibar, on one of my microfinance trips:

The green and yellow sign ("I love Zanzibar, vote yes for me, choose CCM, choose Dr. Shein") is a campaign ad from Tanzania's ruling CCM party (from the Swahili abbreviation for "Revolutionary Party").

Giant signs like these are everywhere. On major roads, you might easily see five or six at once.

Since the dawn of Tanzanian independence, the CCM and its predecessor have run things from day one, even when that necessitated rigged votes and occasional electoral massacres (including one here on Zanzibar as recently as 2001). But that doesn't mean an election isn't a chance to spend some public money to tell the public whose money you're spending about how wise you are with the public's money.

And while there's a major opposition party gradually gaining support among the business class in Arusha and Mwanza, everybody already knew who was gonna win this one, just like always.

Sure enough, President Kikwete of the CCM was re-elected by a 35-point margin.

And so the people below the powerful smiling heads continue their long slow heavy slog uphill.