When we were in Washington DC a couple of weeks ago I had a beautiful conversation with one of my cab drivers about Anthony Bourdain.
The cab driver was playing music that sounded familiar to me, so I did a quick search on my phone for “Anthony Bourdain + Ethiopia” and came up with the Parts Unknown segment on Mahmoud Ahmed. I asked the driver if he knew Mahmoud Ahmed, and he became so animated that he nearly drove us into a parked police car. The music he was playing was Mahmoud Ahmed, and he called the singer timeless. I told him I saw Ahmed on Anthony Bourdain’s show and enjoyed the music. The driver said “He [Bourdain] is the luckiest man with the best job in the world!”
We talked about how lucky Anthony Bourdain was because he traveled everywhere and met so many people and tasted so many different foods, which also led to a discussion about the rise of incuriosity in America and how important Anthony Bourdain’s show is as people become less interested in learning about other cultures. “Newfoundland! He just did a show in Newfoundland! Who goes there?” the driver said. I told him Newfoundland has been at the top of my husband’s travel wishlist for years and we have been looking forward to watching the episode (which is still on our DVR) and plan to make a trip there.
Right now I wish I could see that driver again. I would invite him for a drink with my husband so we could talk about Mahmoud Ahmed, Newfoundland and Anthony Bourdain.
We have lost an important voice and he will be missed by so many people who never had a chance to meet him.
If you’re in DC and have to take cabs, think about talking to your cab drivers. I’ve had so many interesting conversations with DC cab drivers from Ethiopia and Eritrea.