Wednesday, July 2, 2008

If you were here

I am way overdue on a post about my new surroundings. I do wish you all could come, because my descriptions and photographs will be totally inadequate to give you an idea of what life is like here. For the record, there is an open invitation to any and all of you who want to drop by.

In addition to my inabilities to communicate sufficiently, I am currently suffering from writers' block. Not because I don't have anything to say, but because I do not know where to begin. If you were here, you could appreciate (I use the term loosely) the sights and smells emanating from the river nearby; participate in mango slicing competitions and be blown away by my mad skills; and go scooter-riding through city traffic to arrive at your destination covered in sweat, fumes and dust, all for yourself. Instead it is my duty to try and convey such experiences to you...

1. The River - As many of you know, I love walking - so living in close proximity to work beckons me to walk home each day. However there is one deterrent. The river. Calling it a river is a bit of a stretch. My flatmate refers to it as an OPEN SEWAGE PIT. The banks are covered with litter, and at all times there are at least four or five male (I am not being sexist or overgeneralising here) motorists making there own contributions to it - often standing on the only available piece of pavement and forcing pedestrians (aka Me) to walk in the road. During the daytime rubbish is burnt in large piles along the banks, leaving a stale stench by sundown. The combined smell can be overwhelming. The heavy, warm air that is typical orf this climate refuses to budge. The lack of a pavement and proliferation of urinating men (see above) means that I am constantly looking at the rush hour traffic coming from behind me as I walk in the road - and I cannot just cross over and walk on the other side, because for some unknown reason someone felt the need to rip up the paving and then leave it there (additionally, crossing the road at any time of day, let alone rush hour, is a bit of an event). Ok. Words and pcitures ain't going to cut it. I got this far and decided that I am going to make y'all a video using the McMullen Hipshot, taught to me by the ingenious Mr. Lang. Be thankful that my lil' camera does not have the technology to capture smells.

2. Mango Slicing Competitions - What better way to pass a lazy friday night than watching your friends compete to see who can cut a piece of mango to the smallest size? (think Jenga, but not) I already had pretty good mango slicing skills, but through having large gatherings of people in our home I have gained speed and agility when I handle a mango. My mango selecting technique has also vastly improved (it helps that my favourite mango man stocks great mangoes).

I should mention that prior to said competition we had a power outage ( a regular occurrence here). Except that this one happened during dinner. Thankfully, my resourceful flatmate Nicolette (Nic) had a headlamp, which once attached to her head enabled us to see, and eat, our dinner.

A rather alarming event occurred later that night and I wish to document it for you. Biju attacked me. There I was sitting down, reading my book when he grabbed my by the collar. Why would he attack me you ask? Surely there must be a valid reason. I assure you there was not. Had I angered him in some way? No. I was being attacked because Biju was distressed (really distressed) about the ribbing on the neck of the t-shirt he was wearing, and he felt the need to compare the "less like a cheese grater" ribbing around the neck of my US made t-shirt to the fat and cheese grater like ribbing of his other country made t-shirt. I couldn't even tell the difference - and I am still baffled as to why this completely unverified assertion was of such great importance to him.
Dinner by headlamp

Nicolette won.

Nic's face says it all...

3. Scooter Rides - Again a video seems the best way to capture this. But since I will soon produce a video of the side of the road, for now just pretend that I'm somewhere in the sea of traffic...

It is now 5:38 pm on the 4th of July. I've got the day off. I'll try get some river for you guys and put it on later tonight.

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