Monday, July 06, 2009

Day 2

Last night when I entered my bathroom to get ready for bed, there was a gecko hanging out on the window screen. Even after establishing that it was on the outside of the screen, I still couldn’t relax, and a moment later, it had somehow managed to squeeze through a gap in the window and into my bathroom. I know these lizards are completely harmless and are more scared of me than I am of them, and I also think they’re sort of cute, but they freak the heck out of me all the same! The way it wiggled around when it moved and the speed with which it descended the wall towards my toilet made my skin crawl. I left, shut the door, and had to recompose myself. When I used the toilet later, it was only after making a thorough inspection of the room.

I know I need to get used to critters like lizards and bugs being around. I’m sure I will encounter many of them in the next seven weeks, and the ones big enough to notice are harmless. I will have to become desensitized by exposure.

I’m super happy to be living with other, adventurous young people. Tonight, the girls suggested we all go for a walk to find wine. We wouldn’t have done it if it weren’t for the Tanzanian guy coming with us, and even so I wasn’t entirely sure if it was a good idea. I certainly never would have even considered it if I were on my own. The road was muddy, rutted, and lit only by the moon. At times, I would look behind us to see a dark form following. That freaked me out at first, but people left us alone and soon we were in town, where there was more light. The “grocery store” was a trip! Tiny “aisles” crammed full of all sorts of random things. For example, plastic sachets of alcohol, clothing in Ziploc bags labeled “boys,” flip flops, and stacks of what look like used (or at least very old) paper pads and art supplies. On the wine shelf, alongside African wines were a few bottles of “Altar Wine.” We decided to also get a couple beers as well, and scanned the selection via the crates of empty, battered Guinness and Kronenburg bottles. The woman went into the back of the store and returned with full bottles, obviously recycled several times. A large group of children escorted us most of the way home, turning cartwheels and saying, “See this! See this!” At one point, one of them walked up to me and made motions like he was painting his face, while they said, “Butter!” “Butter on your face?” I asked. “Yes!” “Why?” I asked, but they had lost interest already. I wondered if this was some reference to my pale complexion…

The girls arranged for someone to show us around Kampala (the capital city) tomorrow. This makes me super happy, as I know that if I were here alone, I would spend seven weeks within the one-mile radius surrounding my home and work. I don’t create my own adventures; I let others arrange them for me. So I consider myself extremely lucky to be living with people who like to arrange adventures.

The internet in the guesthouse is still broken, and as it’s now the weekend, I’m sure it won’t be fixed before Monday. However, I was happy to discover today that the office I’m working in is outside of the institute’s proxy network, so I can access Facebook, gmail chat, the remote desktop, and anything else I want to! I can’t go in on the weekend, so can’t chat with the fam, and I’ll have to find some non-internety way to entertain myself for the next two days (how does one do that? The TV is all in Swahili!)

My gecko friend is back tonight, though happily, he’s back on the outer side of the screen. I think I could become quite fond of him, as long as he stays out there. And now it’s 1am, so I must skedaddle off to bed.

1 comment:

  1. I like the idea that you have a gecko friend.