Janet's back at the hotel. All good, she's downloaded footage from cameras, and is happy with the shots. And most importantly, she went to the market today and got me Ethiopian spices! Berbere, Mitmita, Mekelesha - all good stuff!!!
This is from Janet:
My first impression of Djibouti City was so wrong. It seemed like nothing was happening. After a couple days here it feels like Casablanca. Everyone (Djiboutian, French, Chinese, Yemeni, Saudi, and US) are wheeling and dealing. We are now seeing a bunch of French military guys out of uniform in the restaurants and cafes. We just passed armed, full uniform French police. What the hell are they doing here? Tables of guys from everywhere, drinking beers, and making deals. Super interesting. All with a total undercurrent of violence.
Interestingly, we haven't seen much USmilitary presence (actually only once sneaking into a club ... totally suspect guys). Since the bombing in the square near the hotel in 2014, the US military stay on base. The Muslim population hate infidel influence and there are a bunch of bars here on the square. The US wants to keep its strategic base so they restrict soldiers from leaving. French military too. We have to go through a metal detector and pat down every time we come back into the hotel.
Janet mentioned seeing an actual drone flyover. Same day as the pentagon put out a press release about a US drone strike on Yemen that killed 20-30.
She also talked a bit about the guide issues - but I'll let her tell her own story once she's online. But she did mention "I have a better feel for what it feels like to be a hostage ... we stayed calm and eventually got back here to the hotel."
She flies to Paris tomorrow, lucky Janet!