Tuesday, December 11, 2007
République du Tchad
Ok, so the polar opposite to a post I'd made before but thought was new -- here's one I was certain I wrote at some point, but apparently didn't. Such is life.
Some time back, I mentioned in passing that when I was a youth, I wanted to dress up as the nation "Chad" for Halloween one year. Weird enough, but that was far from the limit to my obsession with the country.
The origins of my fascination with Chad (and, to a lesser degree, Angola) are shrouded in mystery. A check with Mom PPA reveals that I heard about the story of some guy who fell off of a ship off Angola's coast, and swam behind until he was picked up -- I have vague memories of drawing pictures recreating the scene. Not sure how I became interested in Chad, though. Maybe I just warmed to it because it looks kind of like someone's face (fig. 2, below).
At some point -- probably preschool -- I met a kid named "Chad" and became really angry that he was allowed to have that name. Unfortunately for storytelling purposes, no violence ensued. In general, though, my Chad fandom was pretty mellow. I was happy when the country got any mention in the pages of "Time," for instance -- even though news out of Chad was, then as now, generally bad. Parallels between this and my later Tomas Kloucek fandom have been noted.
On the, um, "favorite countries" list, Chad's dropped as the years have gone on, bypassed by upstarts like "the Czech Republic" and "Albania." But I still retain a fondness for it, and still exclaim when I see it in the news (usually in things like "Least Livable Countries" lists). I haven't thought much about visiting, though it would be interesting, and I've heard that the local "Gala" beer is pretty good. Maybe I'll set up a Paypal account -- "donate money and send Greg to Chad, he'll report on how the beer is."
(EDIT: love the internet. A 1977 ad for Gala. In 1977, Chad was deep in a civil war, about two years away from seeing the capital conquered by rebels. So this shouldn't be taken as a representation of Chadian life, most likely.)