WAIST 2005 — Part #1

Ugh. I’ve been pulling long days trying to get caught up on work a bit. If it is possible to work oneself dumb, I’m pretty sure that’s what I’m doing, or at least blind; everything seems blurrier than normal. Maybe it’s like with working out, and it’ll make me stronger mentally in the long run to have stressed my brain a bit. Probably not.

In any case, I wanted to get my basic outline from WAIST recorded before my goldfish memory wipes it away. This is really long, to the point where I had to break it up to get it to post. Here’s the fist bit:

2005/02/17 — Thursday — Day 0

Risky Business: Obie got into town a couple days ago and in celebration he hosted a Risk tournament at his house. It was an entertaining evening in general, though I didn’t play Risk all that long. The other people at my table were a little miffed at me speaking French and so did me in first. I did get to go watch Van Wilder though.

I called it a night pretty early. I found out that Dara decided that Mauritania isn’t her sort of place and so is now back in the States. That put of a bit of a damper on things, and so I went home to pack up. She didn’t seem very happy here, so I’m glad she did what she felt she needed to. At the same time, we did have fun hanging out and I hate for anyone to go. She is the first volunteer to willingly call it quits in the whole two years I’ve been here.

2005/02/18 — Friday — Day 1

Taxiiiii: Since there was a shitton of volunteers headed down to Dakar, Jess was kind enough to head up the organization of some group transport. At 6am we convened upon the Peace Corps bureau and loaded forty people into two big prison buses. All the seats were pulled out and the doors welded shut except for the back ones. Along the sides were two benches and then a couple stools you could set up in the middle. We managed to get out of town pretty quick and a mere three hours later we were in Rosso.

We made it across the border in a record hour and a half, and there weren’t even any bribe attempts. Then into sept places for another six hours to Dakar. I was with Carl and the timer he’d started on his watch when we pulled out showed 11 hours and 59 minutes as we pulled up to the American Club to begin WAIST.

I’ve been practicing my beer drinking and I’m to a point where I can actually stomach the stuff. If I’m trying, I can even drink it and not just sip. I was getting to work on my new skill when I learned that the rosters we had to turn in for our teams were limited to twenty people apiece. This is a bit of a problem since there were about 70 of us and twenty times two is nowhere near 70.

The first team had already been picked from our best softball players and the second was left empty and captianless. I figured I’d take the job since the primary requirement was yelling at people to do stuff and that’s one of my skills. I filled the roster the easy way: first come, first serve. This left some people who weren’t paying attention to be a bit disappointed, but there was little choice.

Viking: I pretty soon regretted my decision to capitan a team. Not that I minded the telling people that the rosters were full; everyone was really cool about that. I couldn’t leave the club though and go search out the croque monsieur I’d been jonesing for. There’s a nice little sandwich shop near the Club Atlantique called the Arc En Ciel that does a tasty monsieur. I got the roster turned in and snuck off before the captains’ meeting to hunt one down.

My homestay was with a cool Zambian fellow with Don King hair named Mwavi. Unfortunately, before I made it out of the club, I ran into the other people in my homestay and found out they were about to head out. I had to forgo the sandwich to go with them. It was me, Dan, Caleb and two Senegalese volunteers: Jess and Audrey.

Last year all of the fellows who were cool and had the ability grew mustaches. The tradition continued this year, but not to be outdone we had a few fellows in the new group sporting mohawks in addition. In what is not a big coincidence, they were also all fellows with girlfriends. You’d have to be pretty fucking sexy to not look like a bit of a git with a mohawk. Dan who’s from my group, not to be outdone by these whippersnappers, decided to follow suit. He asked me to aid him, but I was a bit tipsy and didn’t figure I ought to be operating a razor, so we recruited Jess. After assuring her that he realized just how silly he’d look and that she wouldn’t be held responsible, she made short work of his hair.

Barbering done with, we all headed out the Viking. The Viking is a bar in downtown Dakar which is has a good combination of cool atmosphere and not too expensive beer (1000cfa). At one point we attempted a move to the Iguana, but discovered the beers were three times the price, and so returned to the Viking to get a little better greased.

Once upon a time, there was a fellow who went through all the KFC training courses, but when he requested to open his franchise in his beautiful African home of Dakar, Senegal, he was refused. Not willing to let the man get him down, he moved back and opened “Cesar Friend Chicken, Kentucky” which offers a surprising facsimile of the Colonel’s Original Recipe. Having gotten greased we wandered off in search of chicken, but found the place closed. I wasn’t really feeling the evening (and it was 3am), so I decided to head back to Mwavi’s for a couple hours sleep.

2005/02/19 — Saturday — Day 2

Softball: The first day of WAIST is an exposition series to determine the rankings for the next day. We had three games and managed to lose them all. I really liked being out on the field, but I only pitched a couple of innings this time and wasn’t into the action as much as last year. I still had a whole lot of fun playing. I was doing the capitan thing and switching people in and out for a lot of the games. After a bit there was a coup d’etat and someone sober took over captaining. I’m not really sure why, since I think I was doing pretty good. The whole day is a bit blurry though, so maybe I’m wrong on that one.

We had a volunteer, Ben, from last year who flew over from the States just for this weekend. I really wish I could play softball. If I could, I would seriously think about doing the same thing. It was just so much fun. It seems a little silly though to pay almost $1000 to come and suck really hard at softball. Usually, I can at least hit. Not necessarily terribly well, but I make contact with the ball. It turns out that the affects of whiskey include decreased coordination. I wish someone had thought to mention this to me before I got up to bat. ☺

Marine Party: There are five Marines stationed in Dakar. They have a nice big house and every year they throw a party for everyone. Well, cover is 4000cfa and drinks are bar priced, so I suppose it is more fair to say they host a party for everyone. Lots of nice loud music and dancing.

Something that I realized as I was walking into this party was just how many people I’ve gotten to know in the last two years. I know all of Mauritania, of course, but I’ve also had a couple opportunities to meet people from Senegal and recognized a whole lot of faces. It was really cool walking into a room with a couple hundred people and recognizing about half of them. I probably knew more people than anyone else there since no one from Senegal or Mauritania has done as much visiting in the other country as me.

Leah: I wandered outside and pretty much as soon as I got out there Ben walked up to me leading a really cute girl wearing a sexy black satin top and asked “how about this one, will you make out with him?” She looked me over and for whatever reason went with yes. I, of course, was up for it. That’s like free money. Will you take free money? Will you kiss a pretty girl? Well, duh. ☺

My previous shortest period of time between meeting someone and kissing them was about a month and a half. So, sufficit to say dropping to 15 seconds was a whole new sort of experience for me.

Peace Corps Senegal had a debauchery contest going on between the different regions. You got different points for differing levels. Stuff like kissing was 5 points or something. Kissing someone of the same gender was worth more and making out with two people simultaneously worth still more. I’m not sure on all the details, but as a method for adding a little spice to WAIST, I give kudos to whoever came up with it.

My mystery woman was a part of that. Ben was in the process of introducing her to the men of Mauritania to let her choose properly. She’d already passed over a couple of what I consider to be our leading contenders. I still can’t quite figure why she stopped with me. My hair has started getting curlier and as long as it is, I’m working some serious Goldilocks ringlets right now. Maybe she’s got a thing for fictional characters, I dunno. ☺

Streaking: I wandered back inside with her to get a drink and someone said that Mauritania was about to do their annual streak. I knew that this was supposed to happen around midnight, but I’d not paid attention to the time at all. I excused myself and wandered around the corner to find what was going on and found things beginning to ramp up for naked time.

Another first for the evening was running about with no clothes on. All in all it wasn’t that bad. I didn’t have my glasses on and I was in the company of about ten other people, so I didn’t feel isolated and I couldn’t see anyone’s reactions. Even with my poor vision, I did notice quite a few flashbulbs as we headed through the bulk of the party. Hopefully none of these pictures end up on the internet like ever other embarrassing thing I’ve done here has. If it does, I hope I at least looked good. ☺

Entering Jerusalem: Valentin managed to miss out on the streaking somehow. He said the first he knew of it was seeing out prodigious nudity come streaming from around the corner of the building. (He may not have used the exact term “prodigious nudity,” but that was the gist.) Not to be left out of the entertainment he did a bit of trimming on one of the Marines’ palm trees and clothed himself in fronds. A few people attempted to denude him, but he managed to do a good stint wearing only vegetation and duct tape.

Jumper: Normally the Marine party streaking ends with everyone in the pool. The Marines had a new house this year and though there was a pool it wasn’t really necessary to jump in it to finish up. The majority of us opted not to take a dip since it was cold as balls. After a bit though, the allure of standing water proved to much for some of our desiccated crew, the clothes came off again and people went into the pool. The pool though lacked a diving board and half the fun of a pool is making splashes. To remedy the situation, people scaled the pool house and started doing naked cannonballs off the roof.

By this time I had relocated my new friend who happened to have smuggled some gin into the party. I, therefore, had more interesting things to occupy my attention than freezing cold water. We hung out by the pool though and watched the good natured if a bit dangerous fun until one of the Marines came and shut it down. At one point Lisa came up with her camera and started shooting a movie before asking me, “so, what’s her name Will?” I did sort of know her name. I knew I’d asked it and been given it, and that it was an L name. The specifics were a little fuzzy though. I was a little uncertain about the mores for this situation, but I had a sense that having stuck my tongue in her mouth would make asking her name again a bit awkward. I’ve actually seen the video which is unfortunately too dark to make out my looking over her shoulder and mouthing, “I’ve got no fucking clue, fuck off and go away.”

Chicken: I eventually saw the mystery beauty off with some other people from her homestay and discovered that everyone from mine had already left. I went wandering around the rapidly unraveling party not quite partied out yet. Around the back, I discovered a big grill full of chicken. I hung out with Lisa and Kristen chatting for a bit and consuming lots of tasty poulet. Around 4:30 I got my fill and started to get sleepy, so wandered back to Mwavi’s where a bleary-eyed Jess let me in.

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