Archive for July, 2005

Crazy Town

Ok, so I was going to let my weekend description stand with Friday, but my recent visit to crazy town needs a bit of background…

Most of Saturday I spent in bed with my cat Hoover sleeping off the goodly quantity of booze that hit me so hard the night before. Once nightfall finally rolled around though I was at about 90% and the 15 or so hours of sleep I’d gotten kept me from just calling it a night. So instead I headed back to the Salamander for a bit of Salsa dancing. To be honest this wouldn’t have been my first choice given my lack of coordination, but I figured I’d give it a shot.

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Histoire Sabbatique Continuée

The third day of sabbatical.

2005/06/15 Hotel Harmattan Hotel Mermoz 0:20 125cfa

The next morning we got up at a leisurely hour and wandered town a bit. Not before I played Santa a bit more and gave K the copies of Something Happened and The Brothers K that I’d brought for her. When we hung out before we discussed both aging and that she collects good books. I figured these would make good additions to her collection. I also gave Leah a little wooden Moroccan pot filled with pepto-bismol tablets. She was initially posted to Morocco before it was evacuated and so the pot was a safe bet. The pepto was off of a conversation where she may or may not have been joking about liking them. Either way, I thought it was a quirky, but not too weird gift.

I’ve found I really like giving gifts. I like shopping and the acquisition of stuff. I like hunting through the stalls of trinkets and from time to time I even like bargaining. I don’t really have the attention span though to maintain a large collection of brik-a-brak for myself. Giving gifts let’s me shop and make my friends happy all at once. Granted, certain of my friends ought make out with me upon reception of their gifts, I think, but I like doing it even without the physical expression of appreciation. ☺

We went by one of the nicer stores on the island: a fair-trade shop called Keur Fall. We were secretly hunting for something for K. They had lots of cool stuff and Leah got a very fetching orange beret.

At the pool I hid out under the umbrella for a good bit. My skin hadn’t seen the light of day for a couple months before the previous day’s pool excursion and I was currently working an very convincing overripe tomato impression. I was in a bit of a mood and sulked by the pool with The Blind Assassin and practiced my writing a bit more, this time in the key of Faulkner…

Drama flows through my veins. Melodrama to be exact. Much as I try to rid myself of it, I have been as of late unable. It stems, I think, from the uncertainty that I doubt I’ll ever be able to shake. My ideas don’t get played out directly; instead they bounce around my head for a while losing their touch with reality: becoming epic. She doesn’t adore me, she doesn’t hate me. The truth is mottled and complex, but as I sit here stewing rather than out there really living things are getting too simple. When things finally break free I can tell that they’ve come unmoored from what is, but I’m hard pressed to do anything about it.

It is apparently my job to stop the thinking and drive the action. I don’t fault her the responsibility, I just suck at at. Last night we spent far too much time talking and none at all kissing. I don’t like this drama. I don’t want my life and my feelings played out in my head and spoken on my voice. That pale shadow of reality. That reflection of the moon on the water. I just want it to fall away. Live and be consumed! Blah, blah, blah… If wishes were raindrops this’d not be a desert…

Since I knew I needed to get off my ass and go talk with everyone, I eventually did. Most of the conversation still escapes me since it concerned people and places I didn’t know, but I did manage the occasional interjection about their desert neighbor to the north. Everyone was really friendly and I enjoyed hearing the stories even if I wasn’t up to my usual loquaciousness. After we’d been there a bit a few more of the girls from the Fouta showed up and brought a good deal of energy along with them. Our crowd surpassed ten now with a combined travel time of around forty hours to be there. It was an impressive show of affection and I told K as much.

The Kaolack crew and I headed out from the pool a bit early to run a few errands. Dell headed back to Keur Fall to pick up K’s present while Justin and Leah went to retrieve the cake they’d brought from Kaolack: enter Africa’s ability to muddle the best laid of plans…

Kaolack’s cake was a wonder of American culinary skill. Easily a foot in diameter it had the shape of a heart to represent the world’s love of Kathleen. When they’d gotten it into town after a harrowing five hour ride on Leah’s lap, they gave it to the care of the hotel staff to refrigerate while waiting for the party. The ownership of the Hotel Harmattan has recently changed hands from an industrious Frenchman to an elderly Lebanese couple. By coincidence the son of the Lebanese couple also lives in Saint Louis and owns a pâtisserie down the street. When they got up in the morning and discovered a giant heart shaped cake in their fridge they were touched by what they assumed to be their dear grandson’s surprise. They must have been touched all the way down to their stomachs because they ate a good five slices of cake between them. The Lebanese style of cake cutting is a bit less ordered than our finicky Western methods, so there’s a jagged round chunk missing right out of the middle.

Sufficit to say, Justin and Leah were less than pleased at this defacing of their culinary masterpiece. I missed the initial confrontation, but Leah was uncharacteristically pissed when she made it back to the room. The contrite grandson did a bit to soothe her anger when he offered to give them a replacement cake from his pâtisserie. There was nearly a second conflict when the Lebanese couple attempted to appropriate the as of yet unseen uneaten parts of the heart cake because it was “delicious.” This suggestion was met with surprising fury on Leah’s part. The remnants of the cake were soon returned to their creatress who grumbled a bit about lesbians and frogs, but seemed to be calming.

Everyone else came back a bit after and other than some giggling that had to go unexplained as the cake was iced, Kathleen was none the wiser about the preparations for the evening. Since this was to be our nice night out donc, il faut s’endimancher, n’est pas?

Everyone was in rare form, but there were a few shining stars that come to mind. The birthday girl herself was wearing a lovely red and white floral print that did an excellent job of accentuating her finer points.The outfit was drawn together very well by a string of faux pearls that she’d received as a present earlier in the day. Leah had a light green ensemble, also in a floral motif, and with ruffled elastic back on the shirt reminiscent of her senorita outfit from the Kaolack party. She was certainly looking good, but this was just an appetizer for her true hotness which was to blossom later in the evening. Marie Elsie nearly took the prize for most striking outfit with a pink tie-back halter top than was guaranteed to leave some unsuspecting fellow with whiplash before the end of the evening. In the end modesty or good sense won out and she put on a shirt under it which did a lot to mute the effect.

The gents, of which we were two, did our best to look presentable to escort this bevy of beauties. Justin managed it with a cotton striped shirt that brought out both his height and build. He looked debonair without being aloof; a versatile escort capable of pleasuring the mind with scintillating dinner conversation and later pleasuring the body with a firm but tender touch. I myself was a bit rougher in appearance. I was wearing my traditional Saint Louis dancing ensemble of Malian print pants, gray wife-beater and a blue button down shirt worn open. I tried to leave my hair uncovered, but eventually thoughts of having been called a “poodle” and “mushroom” wormed their way into my psyche and I covered it with a bandanna.

Dinner was at La Saigon: a delicious Thai restaurant at the end of the island where we all stuffed ourselves on delicious curries and lo meins. K received a couple more gifts: a very nice handbag from Keur Fall and a fancy mulafa from myself. I’d never purchased a nice mulafa before and something that I learned is that the top of the line ones have little braids and buttons at one of the corners that are the signature of the artist.

A couple of our girls had already had a bit to drink and they’d call the waiter (with whom they were familiar) with alluring cries of “Oh Oooousemaaannn…” For a very black man he’d manage to turn quite pink. To help everyone to get on the same page we had a couple rounds of saki shots. Ever sensitive to the ambiance our proprietess provided us with little ceramic shot bowls. The base of each was a curved lens that normally distorted the light, but when filled with a clear liquid, such as saki, became transparent to reveal a nude figure lounging in the bottom of the bowl.

After dinner we headed back to the room for a bit. Marie Elsie made a very stiff screwdriver that was literally almost half vodka and she and I nursed that together. I didn’t really get especially drunk given the extent to which I’d imbibed. I think part of the problem was that I’d still not really talked to Leah about where exactly we stood. Running around all day combined with my being a chicken shit just kept it from happening. While we were back at the hotel she changed clothes into a pair of jeans that literally stopped my heart for a beat when I saw them. Those jeans combined with the addition of her orange hat purchased earlier in the day was the perfect blend of spunky and sexy. Her looking as good as she did managed to push my nearly mind numbing chatter of self-recriminations up yet another notch. I took a shot of vodka chased with Red Bull to try and quiet the damned things down.

K’s final present from Leah were a couple of glow sticks that were broken out once we got into the club. Our group was in a big circle and as the sticks would move from person to person you’d take the spotlight for a bit in the center. Tara was likely the best contestant with her flowing and sensual moves reminiscent of an arcane ritualistic dance out of ancient Egypt. The most entertaining was a random Wolof woman who joined our circle dressed in full boubou regalia and did a tawdry seduction of a distressed looking Frenchman.

The music was pretty good, but I wasn’t being grabbed by anything. I was sort of pissed that just as the glow sticks found their way into my hands the music changed to a Senegalese m’balach. A perfectly fine and acceptable form of musical expression, just one with a beat so complex that it generally just confuses me and I end up flailing like an epileptic if I attempt it for any length of time. I passed the sticks off to Ouseman from the restaurant who had apparently been captured by the Siren calls of Kim.

Eventually my courage and a good song lined up with 50’s Candyshop and managed to get in a bit of dancing with Leah. Some time after that I told her that I’d really like to get to get a word with her if she had a chance. After a bit we did head out and we did get to talk a bit. The conversation was mostly me raving and her trying not to fall asleep. I didn’t really leave with any more of a clue than I came in with other than the knowledge that we wouldn’t be hooking up that weekend and it would be best that if we ever manage to catch up again that we do so in a setting where it is just us two.

How I feel about the whole bit is muddled. I think she is beautiful and I’m definitely interested in her. We have a unfortunate tendence toward awkwardness in our group interactions though. At this point I’m willing to just let things play out as they will. I’ve pretty much said where I stand, so the ball’s in her court. I figure I’ve done a pretty good job of being both nice and cool to date, so however it works out I did what I could and that’ll have to do.

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This last weekend has absolutely worn me down. Nothing especially intriguing happened, I’ve just been running about and I’m just tired.

Friday night there were a bunch of people in town for a girls’ conference. There’d been sessions and meetings and whatnot all week for about fifty Mauritanian high school girls and their Peace Corp volunteer chaperons. The conference ended and most of the volunteers escorted their charges back to their sites, but there were a few people left around.

We all got together, did a little drinking and then headed out to the Salamander. The DJ has been getting better in recent months, but he was not doing especially well. I was looking for some techno or hip hop, you know, dance music. All that he was doing though was some salsa and Arabic stuff.

I did get to be a bootlegger and that was entertaining. I had a bottle of whiskey and bottle of vodka in my little backpack and people’d buy mixers and I’d spike it up for them. The fact that I’d smuggled the booze across international borders made it all the more entertaining.

Relatively early in the evening a googly chunk of our group called it quits. The music wasn’t really grabbing me and I was thinking about doing the same. Lewis grabbed me though and said I ought to hang around for a couple more songs, so I did. They did a bit better and I got a bit of dancing in. The place wasn’t really doing very well though and relatively soon we headed to the VIP.

Well, most of us did. Marc stayed back to try and convince an alluring Spanish senorita to accompany us. Things did not work out apparently since he arrived at the club alone about ten minutes later. They’d not checked my bag at the door, so I got to continue my reign as goto guy. I still wasn’t really entertained. The music was more danceable, but so incredibly loud that I thought my ears were going to start bleeding.

The group dynamic had also shifted significantly. Nate and Cailin were occupied conoodling on the dance floor. Marc and Lewis were busy working their respective brands of magic on Jenny. I was left pretty much to my own devices. My recent frustrations in Saint Louis left me not really feeling like hitting on anyone. I especially did not feel like hitting on Jenny. She is:

  1. gorgeous
  2. flirtatious
  3. fickle

Whereas I am:

  1. gawking
  2. pliable
  3. melodramatic

This is a definite recipe for me to spend time being dramatic. It is a habit I am working hard to break with limited success. In any case I’d definitely not put myself in competition with Marc and Lewis who have had more sex in the last two months than I have in my whole twenty-seven years.

So, I sat down for a bit, had a cigarette and another drink and waited to see if the music would grab me. That last drink was a bad idea. It put me over the line and I felt myself go. I definitely didn’t feel like hanging around at that point so I packed up my booze bag and headed out.

In what is decidedly one of my larger displays of impropriety, I stopped on the side of the road to have a brief sit down. I sent M a text and told her that if I wasn’t home by morning to come find me on the side of the road. I was just being funny, but then I decided to lie back and the next thing I know some fellow in a boubou is kicking me telling me I can’t sleep here. I was mortified and apologized profusely before a taxi happened by and saved me further embarrassment.

When I got out of the taxi Lewis walked up. It turns out they’d left very shortly after I had and they were at a restaurant by my house having a sandwich. I was still completely hammered and not really in any condition to chat, but I went over and joined them regardless. I was curious how they’d beaten me home. There were conflicting reports as to how exactly it happened but Jenny had left and the boys shortly thereafter.

M texted me at that point and asked if I was alright. As I was responding Marc wandered off. When he came back he informed us there was an excellent place to be sick right around the corner. I’d never really been sick intentionally before, but when I checked I felt like I could and I’ve heard it is better to do that than be hung over the next day. So, I figured what the hell and went and puked. Not that difficult or traumatic all in all.

I wandered back home after that and crashed. An examination of my phone the next day showed there was less than ten minutes between my message to M telling her I was sitting down and my subsequent message saying that I was fine and headed home. So, the guy must have come up to me as soon as I lay back. It was just horribly embarrassing, as I said.

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Shake It All About

Day number two of my Saint Louis sabbatical.

2005/06/14 Rosso, Mauritania Rosso, Senegal 0:30 300um

I headed out bright and early the next morning. The border opens at 8 and the ferry crosses for the first time at 9, so I figured I hit it right around 9 and get right across since my passport was stamped from the day before. Silly me…

I get to the border and there is a guard at the gate. This is not unusual, but the 500um entrance fee he is asking for is. The Senegalese guy next to me just pays it, but I decided instead to tell him that I was in here yesterday and many times over the last two years and there is no such fee. He just grunts and stands there. I just stand in front of him and glare. After about five minutes he tells me that there isn’t really a fee, but he’s hungry and wants breakfast money. He asks me if I’m ok with giving him some money for breakfast. I tell him that it isn’t normal to pay to come in and I’m not giving him anything since he already lied to me. We then resume our standing for a bit.

Eventually he just sort of moves out of the way and I push by him. He decides not to push the issue. Amazingly the ferry hasn’t left yet. I’m quite pleased and start heading toward it when a guy with one of the guards starts hissing at me. I know what he wants and it would have been the smart thing to just walk on and make them come after me. (Since there’s about a 50% chance they wouldn’t have bothered.) But I’m dumb and so I went over to talk to them. It was the same guard I spent ten minutes discussing the fact I’d be coming through this morning with the night before. I explained it one more time and he let me go. Just in time for me to see the ferry pull out. Son of a bitch.

I go down to where people are loading pirogues to cross over and try to get in one. The guy first tries ignoring me and when I actually put my foot on the boat he tells me I can’t go. I ask why, but he just goes back to ignoring me. I really wanted to know some Wolof so I could call him nasty names. As it was, all I could do was more glaring. I went over to the bank and sulked for a bit over the bad start my day was off to.

Eventually though I made it across. The Senegalese police were no problem at all. I made it to the garage and into a car pretty quick. There was another half hour wait for the car to fill, but there were lots of beggar kids around who I entertain myself by carrying on one sided conversations in English with them. It’s sort of like talking to plants except the baffled looks make it much more entertaining.

2005/06/14 Rosso Saint Louis 2:30 1750cfa + 250cfa
Saint Louis Carefour Saint Louis Hotel de Poste 0:15 300cfa

I rolled into Saint Louis about 13h and found the hotel and the pool at the Mermoz. I splashed around for a bit with the birthday girl and another volunteer before we headed back to our hotel on the island.

Once back at the hotel we found the Kaolack crew already checked in and waiting for us. I was pleased to get to see Leah again. I’ve not seen her since the Kaolack party (at the end of the Nikola-Kolba trip I never finished writing up). Our interactions have always been interesting because we share two unfortunate characteristics: neither of us knows exactly what we’re doing and both of us deal with that by pulling back and being quiet. It makes for lots of uncomfortable silences whenever we see each other.

I’d not eaten since my nyechna the night before, so I broke out the first of Kathleen’s presents: Apple Biskrem.

Biskrem are tasty cookies from Ãœlker in Turkey. There is a chocolate variety that is pretty easy to find in both Mauritania and Senegal. In the RIM though we have other rare and elusive varieties of krems. One of our big grocery stores recently got a shipment of apple at just about the same time that K told me that was what she wanted from Mauritania. There are fig as well, but I’ve not seen them since some serendipitously showed up at a shop as I was stuffing a Nalgene with sweets to send to Leah a couple months ago.

I stole some of the Biskrem, but I was still pretty hungry and so we went en masse to find some eats. Our restaurant of choice was closed so we opted for beer and waiting. I grabbed a sandwich from a street vendor since dumping beer into my empty stomach would have been less than bright. We sat around and I mostly listened to stories about people I didn’t know. A couple times the conversation would turn to parties I’d been to, but it was mostly gossip.

After an hour and three beers our restaurant was open so we got cleaned up and headed out. Beers generally run about 1000cfa apiece, so I had already spent 3000cfa ($6) or about double my daily budget in Nouakchott. Our restaurant was pretty nice and so I asked the waiter for the cheapest most filling thing. He apparently only get the cheap part since he came back with a few pieces of lettuce and some emaciated popcorn shrimp. Fortunately, I split a bottle of wine with K which, when combined with the previous beers, kept me from caring very much.

We went back to the bar that we were at before and met up with an Englishman and his friend. Mostly it was more talking. K and the Englishman set off on a discussion of development that was interesting, but decidedly not my cup of tea at that point. The truth of the matter is that lots of people were starving to death right at that moment and there’s pretty much nothing that can be done about it. Different development and aid programs are going to change things, but some people are going to die in any case, and any solution is both complex and time consuming. I try not to think about those people when trying to have a good time because though it is important, it is also horribly depressing.

After a bit and me wandering out for fresh air a couple of times I went and got my CDs. I’ve got a mix that started with the St. Paddy’s Day party and has been evolving since. The dance moment of the evening definitely belonged to K with her moving performance to that hallmark of the early 90’s: Sir Mix Alot’s Baby Got Back. It was amazingly entertaining and inspiring to the point that I even got up and danced a bit to Lil’ John’s Get Low even though I was with a bunch of relative strangers; an environment where I generally try not to make a fool of myself.

The rest of the evening is a bit fuzzy. I remember paying for four more beers (which is who it’s fuzzy) and heading back to the hotel. I managed to corner Leah in the bathroom and chat for a bit. Being slightly lit helped me with my whole lack of confrontation thing and we talked for a bit. She was a little miffed at the frivolity of our recent correspondence. I apologized and told her I’d been shooting for frivolous because I thought that was what I was supposed to do. I yet again professed my cluelessness and got her to beat my head against the wall a bit. This was entertaining for me and I’m pretty sure confusing to her.

I went to bed cursing both my complete inability to be suave and her attractiveness which made the situation significantly more depressing.

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Grosso Rosso

This past weekend I headed off to Saint Louis, Senegal for a friend’s birthday party.

2005/06/13 Université den Nouakchott Garage Rosso 0:20 500um
Garage Rosso Rosso 2:30 3000um

Showing a normal lack of foresight, I showed up at the garage around noon. I was thinking that the border would be open at 3:00 and so after the two and a half hour drive I’d get there about when it opened up. What I forgot is that the schedule for the garage is fairly Mediterranean. It is hot as hell in the middle of the day so everyone hides out in the shade somewhere from about 11:00 until after the late afternoon prayer. This was a bit of a problem since the border was going to close again at 6:00 and I didn’t especially want to have to bribe someone or get arrested again.

Fortunately there were a couple Senegalese people at the garage who also were looking to cross and we all went down patrone style in a car with only four people. It was a little expensive, but the car was nice and I had enough room that I took myself a nap.

2005/06/13 Rosso, Mauritania Rosso, Senegal 0:20 150um

Before leaving Nouakchott I’d equipped myself with both Sentel and Alizé sim cards. I didn’t know for sure when my friends were headed to Saint Louis, so I was going to go to the border and send some text messages to find out the plan. Much to my disappointment, once I was in the network I found that neither card had any credit on it. Not only that, but the two Mauritanian networks (Mauritel and Mattel) were both out in Rosso. So, I went ahead and crossed the river and put credit on one of the cards only to find that they weren’t coming til the next day.

2005/06/13 Rosso, Senegal Rosso, Mauritania 0:10 100um

I didn’t really feel like wandering Saint Louis by myself, so I headed back across the river for the night. Here I ran into a small problem. My passport is pretty much full. I’m trying to avoid having to go to the embassy to get more pages in the off chance that they inquire as to how I’m crossed the river about fifteen times only having taken four vacations in the last two years. So, as I came back across I explained the situation and asked them not to do any more stamping. That was surprisingly easy.

I headed to the Rosso house to watch some DVDs, but found that the Mauritanian from which the player was borrowed had reclaimed it. So instead I did a little writing.

I’ve recently finished The Brothers K by David James Duncan. I really liked the writing and it has inspired me to write sometimes on my own. More so in homage rather than imitation since my own wordcraft is crippled by my inability to maintain focus on a subject for more than thirty seconds at a stretch.

After the rains, Rosso becomes a Venice gone disgustingly awry. One volunteer postulated a vile plot on the part of someone in the city planning department because, “it just isn’t possible to achieve a drainage system this inefficient by accident.” After having abandoned my hopes of going to Saint Louis for the evening, I attempted to pass the night at a volunteer’s house in town. My attempt was nearly thwarted by an enormous cesspool of a lake spanning the entire street.

Since many of the houses are dug out some below street level, people were having to sandbag their doorsteps to keep their houses from filling with water. I eventually circled the block and made my way into the house. After dumping my stuff I realized I’d not eaten all day and went in search of sustenance.

Sensitive to the damper that the 90% humidity put on Rosso’s normal charm, some industrious soul attempted to brighten the atmosphere by disemboweling a cassette tape and decorating both a tree and the cow tethered to it. The cow seemed largely nonplussed by the effort as evidenced by the consumption of what looked to be a goodly portion of the decoration along with its feed.

The stand I usually get sandwiches from was surrounded entirely by water and closed. So, I wandered on and eventually found a house serving “nyechna” (or at least that’s the best understanding I got before I grew embarrassed after asking to have it repeated four times). It was a sort of rice paste with bits of fish ground up in it. I wasn’t sure on the fish from the taste, but having to dislodge a couple scales from between my teeth confirmed it.

The entire meal I avoided the ice water sitting on the table because I know the Rosso is one of very few sites in Mauritania where the volunteers don’t drink the water. That and a recent cholera outbreak in the region. At the end of dinner I went and bought some tchakri from her. Tchakri is yogurt, couscous, nutmeg, raisins and crack cocaine. Well, I’ve not actually seen them add the crack, but given how strongly I crave the stuff it’s a pretty safe bet. As she was making it she called for the pitcher and dumped a bunch of the water I’d been so scrupulously avoiding into the mix. This particular tchakri was made with kosum which is more like soured milk than yogurt. I needed my fix so bad though that I threw caution to the wind and ate it anyhow.

Then it was back to the house for some Margaret Atwood and sleep in preparation for more travels in the morrow.

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Un Tatouage

yawn I’m back again from traveling around a bit. I’ll write about that in a bit, but for the moment I’m too sleepy. None of my students showed up for class tonight. I don’t feel terribly responsible for it since I’ve been here and been teaching. It hasn’t been enthralling, but it has been good enough. I’m teaching router configuration in French for God’s sake. There’s only so much that can be done.

Anyhow, I’m entertaining myself with some piddling on the internet. The project de la soiree is defacement of my person. Pretty much all the girls here get hennaed at one point or another. (See madmaddy123‘s description.) The hennaing of the hands and feet is a part of the wedding ceremony and it looks pretty cool. The only thing that guys ever do, and this is rare, is to put henna in their hair, usually the beard. I’m thinking this would be a bad look for me and I can’t grow facial hair anyhow, so I’m looking for something a little different.

I’ve tried to buy henna stuff before, but the women who sell it only speak Hassaniya, so I never could get a good explanation of what exactly I needed. They also looked at me funny as to why I, a guy, wanted hanna anyhow. I happened to be in the market the other day with a female volunteer who spoke Hassaniya and she hooked me up. I got my henna and I also got some sort of fixative that I think is gum arabic. (The bottle is in Arabic, so I’m not sure.)

So now I am trying to figure out who I’d like to tattoo on myself. I was thinking initially of doing an om in Sanskrit maybe on the shoulder:


I’m leaning now more toward something with a little more machismo: barbed wire around the bicep. I figure I can do it with a certain sense of whimsy and my friends probably won’t make much more fun of me than they usually do. Well, they probably will, but I’m used to it. ☺

barbed wire

The remaining problem is one of application. There are two ways that one can get hennaed. The one you see the most often is drawing. Usually in the States someone will use a syringe without the needle to draw designs on the skin. Here they cut the corner off a plastic bag, but the idea is the same. The second method, the one that I am going to try, is to put tape down to block off the area you want to henna. Generally this is done to create blockier designs, but I’m thinking if I get a razor and some surgical tape I could cut curves fairly easily. This will mean though that things would work best if the tape was all one piece. Little chunks of whitespace in the middle of the design will be hard to do. So, maybe I’ll go with a tribal design like this:


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You ever search for your name on Google? (I’m the entire first page.) I was piddling around tonight and turned up some shots from the Honors costume ball in 2003.

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Singin’ and Dancin’

We’re going to throw a beach bash in a couple weeks when everyone is getting ready to COS. There’s a good live band that has been performing at the bar and they’ve said they’re up for coming out and performing for us. My group has a couple guitar players and I’m looking for acoustic guitar songs that are good for playing so everyone can sing and dance along. I got a CDs worth of suggestions at the party in Boghé a couple days ago, but does anyone have any others?

Sublime Santeria
What I’ve Got
George Michael Faith
Oasis Wonderwall
Janis Joplin Me and Bobby McGee
Violent Femmes Blister in the Sun
Poison Every Rose Has Its Thorn
Indigo Girls Closer to Fine
Power of Two
Tom Petty Free Falling
Blues Traveler Run Around
Deep Blue Something Breakfast at Tiffany’s
Bob Marley Buffalo Soldier
Counting Crows Mr. Jones
Dave Matthews Band Crash
Peter, Paul and Mary Leaving on a Jet Plane
Concrete Blonde Tomorrow, Wendy
Van Morrison Brown Eyed Girl
Dispatch The General

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Des Transformations

I’m back in town having been in Kaédi to do a little training for this year’s crop of new kids. They really are kids too. My group came in with an average age of 26. Last year’s group and this one are both 23. Freakin’ kids. ☺

I’ve been in a funky mood the last couple weeks. We’ve got old people leaving and new people coming in and the fact that all this is drawing to a close is settling in. Going down to Stage was just odd. I’ve not spent much time in Kaédi, so almost all of my memories are from being there as a stagiaiere. The juxtaposition really highlights both how much I’ve changed and how much I’ve not.

A bunch of stuff came together at once in the club about a week ago and my brain melted down. I just had to get out and walk for a bit. On the way home I waxed melodramatic for a bit and talked about how much I’ve changed and how I like the changes, but I feel like I’m faking at times. That I’m significantly less cool than I pretend to be. It was nice to be like that for a bit. I’ve not formed many friendships here where I felt comfortable sounding seriously neurotic. To indulge a bit was relaxing.

It’s mostly girls which still throw me for a loop. I like them, am good at befriending them, but as for having moves to put on them; I’m at a loss. I need game. So far, all I’ve got is “Hi, I’m Billy. Wanna fuck?” And I can’t do that one without giggling when I can do it at all. I’m not looking to become a complete slut, but every so often I meet a cute girl and being something other than a gawking ball of introversion would be nice.

I’ve not yet given up all hope. Change is possible. I took the Three Variable Purity Test out of hlb1995‘s journal, and it came out like this:

Axis Purity People More Pure

Putting in my answers from two years ago it comes out like this:

Axis Purity (Δ) People More Pure (Δ)
43% (+14%)
63% (-24%)
70% (+40%)
36% (-46%)
50% (+34%)
76% (-24%)
51% (+25%)
58% (-37%)

Umm, yeah, change is possible. ☺ I’ll get to go home soon enough and find out if ceasing to be a degenerate is as easy as becoming one was.

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