So, it turns out that May Day is a big old fat sloppy deal out here, and they had a big fat sloppy parade to prove it. There were band band stuff (not second line swing, but “buoyant” is a good adjective), dancers, lots of marchers, floats on trucks for all the big industries and a lovely atmosphere prevailed. I had a conversation with Hassan, the guy who ran an aluminium sheeting store and was also headmaster of a school, and we talked about what a toilet flush my country is going through right now. As usual, being an American means the profound horror people have for your country is coupled with no personal animosity: “I’ll never go there!” he laughed, clapping me on the shoulder. He told me stories about friends being stripped naked and anally probed at the airport, about people being denied visas or having them revoked for no reason, and about how his nephew at school in New Jersey hates living in a country where everyone thinks he’s a terrorist. And then we talked about other stuff: life in Pemba, where he was from, and the schools we teach at. And then the parade ended and we all went our separate ways.