Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Africa: I sleep like a bush baby

We have settled into a little routine here in Nungwi, Zanzibar, Tanzania. Eat the free runny scrambled eggs for breakfast, walk slowly to the beach, wonder why anyone would buy any of the thousands of tacky orange and yellow paintings for sale, swim (me), start drinking Kilimanjaro beer (me) and Tusker (Kathy) at around 5PM, go to Cholos bar after dinner of Vegetable curry (me) or pizza/chicken (Kathy).... And it really is so beautiful here. I am glad we came north, it was worth it. Stupidly, we've missed having actual DINNER at Cholo's, where tonight we are going to eat up in a treehouse.

We see the same people every night at Cholos, but strangely we haven't been our 4AM selves. The other night I was talking to one of the young local bartenders, and yawned. "I think I'm going to bed soon" I said.

"bed!. You sleep like a bush baby!"

yes, I do sleep like a bush baby. Somehow the bush baby name made it's way to another restaurant - they overheard us talking - and the waiter bid me goodbye "goodbye bush baby!"
We managed to stay up until 2:30AM last night - not from lack of action at Cholo's, but just because I'm such a damn sleepy bush baby.

One thing that amuses Kathy is how hard of a time I have understanding people here. They speak fine english, but that African accent is just so hard for me to understand.

Like my 22 year old admirer/bartender last night, Malek.

"I am a basket!"

"huh? you're a basket?"

"today I am a basket - is my basket!"

"huh? basket?"

"My is basket! I am 22!"

"oooooooooooh. Happy birthday, I mean happy basket!"

They were playing good music and I started dancing a little with the bartenders. I started to regret it when little Malek kept coming over and putting his arms around me.

"Where did you get your beauty? From your mother or your father?"

Poor little harmless Malek with his tattered two-day-in a row yin/yang t-shirt. I resorted to an old time-tested tactic of mine.

"Malek, when I go to the toilet, I have the diarhhrea!"

Malek gave me a puzzled look

"You know! Diahrrhea! When I go to the toilet (I sit down on invisible toilet and point to my behind)...bad smells and lound sounds come out! Bad, bad smells and sounds. And it is a liquid! No solid! Wow, actually I should really go to the toilet now. Hey, Kathy can I have some of your toilet paper?" (I hopped around gingerly for extra effect)

Malek left me alone for the rest of the evening. Actually I don't have diarhhrea, but I have enough experience in the area to make for a convincing display. I first used that little trick in Saugatuck, Michigan when someone asked me to dance and I didn't feel like it. It works like a charm.

Late last night we bid goodbye to our friend and neighbor, Marybeth. She had actually rented a house here for a month, and knows a lot of people in town, we've had some laughs the last few nights. We talked about that coming home feeling, hers a lot worse because she was here for 3 months and did some hefty and interesting volunteer work. How do you come home and explain all of that to people? Her family wants to throw her a party. "I mean, I saw people die, I'm not in the mood." She had great times in Africa too - it's just a lot of adjustment to come home, the good and bad. Like those people who travel for a year and come home and people say "so, how was it?" what do you say to that?

We also had more converstaion with Tarek, the Bosnian UN worker. He told us about living in the Congo. Basically, rainy jungle, not many roads and being stuck in a compound with the same 7 people for months at a time with shared bathrooms and no TV. They play games at night and only have eachother for company. The UN work is hard but addictive, he said. Once he brought some medicine into a village where most of the people had never seen a non-villager. They gave him a live chicken and were so grateful for the measles medication. He was on a little vacation by himself, probably happy to talk to the outside world for a bit. I told him about our other UN friend, Michiel in Nairobi.

Just like in Brazil, Kathy found some TV show she likes. we don't have a TV at our hotel, but most of the restaurants have one. She's managed to follow the storyline of some bad, public-access-like Nigerian TV show with plenty of baby-daddy drama. If Kate were here, I'm sure she would be watching it with Kathy - just like the two of them managed to follow the telenovella "Bang Bang". The TV here is funny. Aside from the CNN (which is MUCH better than our CNN at home), we have watched a bad chinese western, Kathy's Nigerian show and a program that appeared to be only a man getting a haricut to some WNUA-like smooth jazz.

Well, it's back to the hammock. Thanks for the comments guys, see you soon. Too soon. Wish you all were here to hang out with us tonight to hear about the basket and the toilet troubles.


Anonymous said...

Oh Kate, I wish you were here to watch the telenovelas with me. Africa Nation is fantastic. It's amazing how Sara and I can watch it together and she doesn't catch one word and is shocked when I get a bit of baby daddy plot (Maury Povich would be a huge hit here). My favorite new show is still Keeping it Real with Precious. A classic.

Anonymous said...

I had a dream last night that you quit your job to work for Lonely Planet as a restaurant critic. I think it's because I haven't had poop conversations with anyone in 3 weeks. At least anyone that I know will enjoy it as much as you do.
I hope the bush baby sleeping spell sticks with you when you come back home!

Anonymous said...

I worked at the G last night and realized I totally miss seeing you walk by on your way home. There's been some drama at the laundromat too. Enjoy your last few days and come home safe. -Trisha

K8 said...

Oh how I miss random foreign soap operas. Enjoy them for me! Bang Bang!

Sara your poo story made me snort diet coke out my nose. Nothing is funnier than a.b....nothing.

Lizzie from England is coming to Chicago this weekend and staying 'til Tuesday. Will either of you be back by then? Could be another dance off!

sara said...

Kate I get back late Monday night. Good luck in your dance off, sorry I'll miss it!