As people shout to me on the street here (daily), "WELCOME".
Sorry it's been a while, but what with it being at least 700 degrees out here and with my parents arriving last week, things have been a little hectic. You shall soon see. ON WITH THE BLOG. Here are some general exciting things that made up Week 19:
- We started eating eggs out of bottle caps, accompanied by stringy cheese (complete with suspicious 'seeds'). Pale AND nutritious? You said it.
- Fox Movies and Dubai One have come up with the ingenious idea of Kevin Costner Night. That's two nights of everyone's favourite mediocre actor each week! Absolute score. However, there are serious drawbacks, the worst of which is the constant adverts for a diabolical so-called foodstuff called SALATUNA ("real Italian taste") - because salad and tuna go well together in a tin.... Nope.
- So much Freecell. Too much Freecell?
- We have taken to going to bed as the muezzin is calling for morning prayers at 4.30/5am. Pretty sure that means we are doing Sudan wrong, but it's the only way to squeeze any juice out of this blasted internet.
On Thursday, we were lucky enough to be woken up by This-And-That banging on our door early in the morning, as he does sometimes. The 'emergency' turned out actually to be an invitation to a wedding that evening, which we would surely enjoy we were told, because "there would be another white person there"... Right.
A few hours later, we were driven to the groom's house, which was completely teeming with busy wedding guests. We were quickly ushered into a private back room with Other White Person (a very friendly Canadian lawyer who lives in Juba) and the groom himself, and given a huge plate of food to enjoy, which was incredibly nice. WHY DID WE EAT BEFORE? Bad move. Check out Other White Person's mad henna.
Here we are, the token khawajas before we became one of quite a few token khawajas. And there's This-And-That creeping into the background there. Cheeky.
Yes, that's a shirt for everyone's favourite CHFISFA football team. Otherwise known as Chelsea. Close enough I guess? After cooling down with some boiling hot tea (...) whilst waiting for Mr. SVP Coordinator, we rickshaw-ed over to Khartoum's race track. As ever, Mr. SVP Coordinator "knew a guy", so we didn't have to pay, but quickly got ourselves in and settled down in the stands to enjoy an entire four mad races. Hilarious horse names included 'Diktator', 'Galaxy' (as in, Samsung Galaxy.....), 'Pigeon' and my personal favourite, 'Sim Card'. I thought one was called Potato, but unfortunately I had just misheard Mr. SVP Coordinator saying 'Diktator'. Twice.
For anyone interested:
- I found this article on what horse racing meant to Sudan after the 2011 secession of South Sudan. It even features the infamous 'Diktator'...
- Queen Elizabeth II watched a race in Khartoum back in the day. I bet she did it in much better style than me. I DIDN'T EVEN HAVE A HAT.
- Most of the horses and the jockeys are from Darfur. Culture culture culture.
And now, here are too many pictures of me on a horse. Sorry.
The rest of the week was spent mainly attempting to go back to work (standard timetable/no students/double-or-even-triple-booked room issues) and also waking up and putting my elbow in delicious meals made by The Tedious Englishman while I was napping. Confusion abounded. I eventually got my timetable and oh my word, it's a beauty. Look:
The next week began with various attempts at teaching, but it's quite difficult to teach when a teacher has, wittingly or not, STOLEN your classroom and your students are nowhere to be found. Generally, this is really annoying as I prepare for lessons and get to work only to find I can't do my job, so end up going home, which is a waste of time and money. However,on Wednesday, I stopped a rickshaw and the driver looked at me and said "Jebra?" and knew exactly where I lived. Slightly creepy yes but also excellent. And then he didn't want me to pay him anything. What a champion.
On Friday, The Tedious Englishman and I spent the evening at Doha Family Park in Jebra, which is essentially like a miniature rusted version of theme parks I've been to in Europe and the US, only with a lot less health and safety going on. Suspension on rides can, it seems, go fuck itself.
Highlights included tasty treats: