WAIST 2005 — Part #2

Here is a continuation of the longest entry ever. I really don’t expect anyone to read this, I just want to get as much as I can down so that I’ll maybe be able to recall something in ten years. It is an amazing amount of info in general; I suppose the fact that each day began at 8am and went till around 4am gave quite a bit of time to cram stuff into.

2005/02/20 — Sunday — Day 3

Umping: Dan and Caleb, who had gotten a bit more sleep than myself woke me up around 7:30. You know how sometimes your brain works on stuff while you’re sleeping and you wake up with an answer? Well, despite not having really “slept” per se, I woke up remembering a rule from last year that teams have to serve as umpire for the game before theirs. Since my team was playing at 9:30 this meant we ought to be umping the 8:00 game. Fortunately, Caleb was willing to help out and we made it to the field before the game.

There were really only two deficiencies in my umping. One, I was operating on about six hours sleep in two days. Two, I don’t actually know any of the rules of softball. Caleb does however and so he was the home plate ump and I took first and second base. To make things more interesting though, the teams playing were Peace Corps Gambia (anglophone) and a team of Senegalese (francophone). Caleb speaks Hassaniya and so I was the closest thing to a bilingual person there. The Senegalese liked to argue about every third or fourth call, so I’d come trotting in from the field, get call from Caleb and explain it to the Senegalese. Then they’d bicker and so I’d repeat it yelling and tell them to send the next batter up. The only problem was a couple times when they were actually right and I’d say “no, that’s not the rule. Be quiet. Go back and send the next batter… What? Oh, that is the rule? Umm, ok, nevermind.”

Softball: After this
came our chance to play. Our first adversaries? The Dakar Tigers; a
bunch of private Christian middle school kids. They kicked our
asses. We were better behaved than in years past, but we still had
several mothers up in arms over the danger our beer bottles on the
field posed to their little darlings.

I was playing catcher at the beginning and managed to split my
pants pretty early into the game. I didn’t have any other pants on
hand and so kept playing with my split pants. I was wearing undies so
I wouldn’t imagine anyone was too upset, but it was a bit
breezy. Hitchcock had on shorts under his workout pants, and so he
gave me his pants. Though the splitting passed without comment, I
think I saw some mothers shielding innocent eyes when I dropped trow
on the side of the field to change. Oh well, we were all adults, well,
other than those of us that were in middle school.

Our next game was against the Senegalese from the game I umped that morning. True to form they kept
complaining about most of the calls. Fortunately I was in left field
and my voice was pretty much shot the previous days screaming, so no
one heard my drunken “niquez vos mérés” (“fuck your mothers”) and “get
of the goddamned field, you sons of bitches.” Carl was umping the game
and he would have had to throw me out. I really wanted to play and
they kept holding everything up. I was really sad because I knew it
was likely my last game ever, and I was pissed at having to play
people who cared more about winning than having fun.

In the end we lost by one point. What sucked was halfway through the game there was a scorekeeping disagreement and we gave them a point. The way it works is the ump tracks outs and
strikes, but the two teams track the score. In a really serious game
the ump checks at the end of each inning, but we were a couple behind
and when he checked there was a discrepancy. We had each of the
players we’d said scored a run, and were pretty sure we were right,
but wanted to get on with playing and not bicker. So we gave them the
point.

Umping Megalomania:
After the game I hung around for a bit because I heard that Peace
Corps Benin was playing and that they might be short players. I really
wanted to play some more and especially in a Peace Corps game. It
turned out that Benin had their requisite ten, but the umps that were
supposed to show up didn’t. So, I got to be the ump for the game.

This was a whole lot of fun since it
was Peace Corps Benin against Peace Corps Tamba (from Senegal). They
were both just looking to have a good time and everyone was really
friendly. This is good since I myself was pretty drunk and if they had
wanted serious I could not have provided. I kept forgetting how many
strikes there were and I had to ask the batter. As for outs, the teams
took and left the field pretty much of their own accord. In fact I
wouldn’t call myself an umpire so much as rowdy fan behind home
plate.

The pitchers were having a bit of
trouble getting the ball to home plate, and lots of people were
walking. There is nothing more boring than batters not swinging and
people just walking around the bases, so eventually I started awarding
bonus strikes to people who would at least try and hit the ball. That
worked better and the game started to move a bit.

The one really big damper on the whole
thing was when someone overthrew first base and drilled Jill in the
leg. It is sort of odd that she was sitting in the first base coach’s
box since she was supposed to be the line ump. I suppose it was so
that she could properly nurse her bottle of whiskey. We had a tense
bit where we carried her off the field and had a car come and get her.
Play resumed and in the end Tamba won out by a point.

Pool: I wandered back
to the American Club and played a bit of Marco Polo with my teammates
in the pool. Since I had so pants I just swam in my boxer briefs. It
turns out that they are fairly revealing when wetted. Mine especially
so, since there is a sizable hole in the butt (which I learned of
from my kindly friends’ mockery). It is tough to effectively cover
both one’s balls and ass simultaneously. I was fine though so long as
I stayed in the pool.

After a bit I got out and put my sweats
back on and starting looking around for people from my homestay. I saw
Jess still in the pool and so went over to talk to her. One of the
other Senegalese volunteers thought I looked like I needed to do some
more swimming and came over to help me. There was a bit of a tussle
and even though I went back in I also managed to convince him to come
with me. FYI, sweatpants can hold a surprising amount of water.

Bonfire: The event for
the evening was a bonfire at one of the fields. I went and changed and
then met up with Mark and Kay to finally get my croque monsieur. After
some gossip and tasty sandwiches we headed to the bonfire.

I managed to catch up with Leah
(whose name I got from one of her regionmates during the day) pretty
early. We hung out for a bit chatting and whatnot. The 2000cfa cover
included all the beer you could drink, so I just wandered from one
group of drunkards to another.

Peace Corps Mauritania calmed down a
bit this year with the new kids; at the same time Peace Corps Senegal
had a much better showing than last year. This left us much more
evenly matched and there was a certain rivalry. This started to take a
darker turn as the night progressed and we decided it would be best to
just air our differences. The best forum? A Gangs of New York
style brawl. So we all took the field and had two masses of about
forty people on a side yelling insults at each other. At some point
someone took the initiative and went barreling into the other group and
things turned into a free for all. It was a good natured free for all
though. It consisted mostly of people getting drug to the ground and
quite a bit of beer getting spilled.

After the brawl things calmed for a
bit. I found Leah and practiced not sounding like an idiot with at
least a bit of success. Then Mitch brought out his guitar and we
started into various campfire favorites like “Closer to Fine” and
“Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da.” My voice being completely shot for anything over
a low growl cut into my ability to participate on that one.

Julie decided that things had calmed a
bit and gave birth to the topless beer relays. I got recruited as an
obstacle and ended up standing out in the field for quite a bit
without my pants on since the topless beer relays were not terribly
well organized. A couple false starts ended up just being gaggles of
topless girls running about together (which was sufficiently
interesting to keep me from getting too bored). I gave up my place as
an obstacle after a bit since there was a girl who really wanted he
boyfriend in the relay and he obviously wanted to hang out without his
pants on more than I did.

The relays did start eventually, but
they met an abrupt and surprising end when one of the Marines decided
that it was too risque. Danny decided to discuss the matter. Turns out
that discussing things with a drunk Marine is not a great idea. I
wasn’t there to hear the discussion, but I could see the Marine jump
Danny from where I was and start pounding on him. One of Mauritania’s
own got ejected from the bonfire as well over the incident. It was
just a mess and managed to pretty much kill the party.

I was operating on about six hours
sleep in two days at this point as well as having spent about 90% of
my conscious time intoxicated and having just recently rumbled. I felt
like dying, but Leah was headed out to the afterparty, so I couldn’t
really say no.

Viking Revisited: We
ended up back at the Viking in record force. There were probably 100
people crammed into this relatively little bar. I went and hung out
with some of Team Mauritania for a bit and tried my hand at smoking
again. I’m still not good at it and it still doesn’t affect me enough
mentally to offset the lung cancer and death and whatnot.

I came in with Leah and we were
enjoying a brief celebrity. We had our picture taken together by five
or six different people over the course of the evening. I think it was
a combination of a couple things. For my friends, I’ve not really
hooked up but one time since I arrived over 600 days ago. To see me
with a girl was amusing. There also weren’t all that many
international relations, so we were a bit unique in that. As much as
anything though, I think it is that we were both reasonably sweet
people. It is just cute to get a shot of sweet people being sweet even
if it is fleeting. (Though I learned later she was making out with
someone else while I was wandering around, but what’cha gonna do?)

Fries: After some
socializing I was getting hungry and so Leah and I headed out to find
some hummus. Unfortunately the hummus store was closed at 1am, so we
settled on one of the few open places and ordered a plate of fries.
There was a bit of confusion on what exactly “fries” entailed. Sort of
like how the Brits have “chips” which are kinda like America’s steak
fries. We wouldn’t call these fries so much as oil soup with mushy
potato bits. Yum.

We hung out for a bit and fished some
potato bits out of the soup and let them slide down our throats. With
sufficient salt and ketchup you could pretend that they were real
fries that you’d somehow already chewed and forgotten. Just getting to
hang out for a bit and talk was cool.

Iguana:We wandered
back to the Viking and conversed more intimately in an out of the way
corner until they closed the place down. Leah decided to call it a
night, or morning I suppose since it was 3am. I was pretty beat myself
and wandered to the Iguana in hopes of finding someone from my
homestay to head home with.

The Iguana in Dakar is essentially the
same bar as the Iguana in Saint Louis (where I passed
out
New Years). I really like the place and like the atmosphere,
but I was so tired I couldn’t see straight. So, I gave up and headed
home.

Lost: The kindly taxi
driver who was taking me home completely lied about having the
slightest clue about where we were going. He kept asking me for more
specific directions and I kept reiterating that I didn’t live here and
I had no clue. Eventually he started asking random people on the
street and this worked better than his previous “random turning”
plan. After about an hour we pulled up at Mwavi’s.

Doormat: Mvavi had
asked only one thing of us when laying out the ground rules: “don’t
wake me up.” It was now 4am again and I didn’t have a door key. I
tried my previous ploy of light knocking in the hopes that one of the
guys was asleep in the front room and would wake up. I then got
desperate and rang the doorbell, but this was also to no avail. After
about ten minutes I gave up and just curled up on the doormat. Dan and
Caleb came back about half an hour later and I drug myself into a
bed.

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