You just never know what you are going to encounter when you make a trip into town here. Today was our first experience of the Muslim New Year. It is a national holiday here so we got to stay home from school, which was nice! We thought we would try to get downtown to get some shopping done since that can be a bit of an ordeal when we're in school. It isn't far from our house to the center of town, perhaps 8-10 minutes on a normal day. But this day, as we found out, was far from normal. As I rounded a corner we saw what looked like a large group of kids parading down the street up ahead of us. They were all wearing really neat traditional costumes, playing drums, and moving slowly down the road. I thought that if I could just get around that one group of kids I would be able to continue on the road, but I soon discovered, as I inched ahead at walking speed, that we were caught in the middle of about a 1/4 mile long parade of school kids. In fact, we were now part of the parade! The people walking were taking up one whole lane, and there was oncoming traffic trying to go the other way, so it was a mess. We ended up just becoming part of the parade as we drove along with the walking kids. What else could we do but take pictures out our window, wave at the kids, and enjoy the experience!
We learned two very important lessons today. First, avoid going to town on any national holidays. Second, you never know what you're going to encounter when you go out here, so the best policy when encountering an "inconvenience" such as this is to take a deep breath, pull out your camera, and join the fun. After all, if you can't beat 'em, join 'em!