My first night’s sleep was pretty good. I was awoken at 4am by three different singing voices, half-asleep I thought someone had set a load of very loud and inappropriately timed alarm clocks, but it was of course the first call to prayer of the day.
I was supposed to meet Mr Habeeb at 9.30, so at 10am when he of course hadn’t come I gave him a ring and he told me that someone was outside my house to collect me. I poked my head round the door and a man on a scooter beckoned me on after a cursory “Hello, I’m X”, he’s not mysterious, I have just already forgotten his name. I was driven down the road to a restaurant where I had fish curry for breakfast, the first of many I feel.
Mr Habeeb took me to his house and introduced me to his family. One thing I have noticed is that personal boundaries here are very different. For instance I walked into my house, which is permanently unlocked, and headed for my room; I turned around to find three teenage boys having walked in behind me. Turns out they were boys who rowed before and who wanted to row again. But there was no question of “can I come in?” as much as “how long can I stay?”. They didn’t stay long.
I feel like Ash from Pokémon (I can’t believe that Microsoft Word just added an accent to the “e”…). I’m in a foreign land and like in Pokémon (there it is again!) people just randomly approach and challenge me, not to battle, but to my purpose here. I keep receiving new tools and equipment from people I’ve known for hours at most: my food, my internet dongle, my pokeballs and a bike. The bike is probably the most practical. I have not yet received effective mosquito repellent. My feet have taken the onslaught and I’m not one for conspiracy theories, but I do reckon that mosquito repellent is in fact the opposite- the more I put on, the more I get bitten. That article I’ve linked is probably a pack of lies.
After having lunch (fish curry), I had an initial reckie of the boats: they all seem in good condition. Unlike in England, if you leave something untouched and out in the open for over a year, you don’t return to find it a) covered in phrases like “suk dik” or “clean me L” or b) with big holes in it. All they need is a bit of a clean and then we are good to go. The children have their last exams this week and so I can only start coaching them at the beginning of next week. I had dinner at Habeeb’s house, his wife Zali/Zalli/Zally (?) made me some nice fish curry. We talked about the elections coming up in a week and he gave me a brief history of the political goings on of the last 30 years. It’s quite complicated.
Onwards. From now on, if I eat anything apart from fish curry, I will mention it. If no food is mentioned, then you know wagwan.
- A Best-Ever Mosquito Repellent May Be on the Horizon (investorplace.com)