Coming or Going

January 31, 2008

It was nice to finally see the family.

Both hers and mine.

It was a great month, Christmas in ‘Bama with my family and The Girl, New Orleans for New Year’s, skiing, steaks and karaoke in LA with my west coast friends, and champagne and fine restaurants in Manhattan with the east coasters.

I couldn’t have asked for much more.

As we neared the end of our time at the Hotel Giraffe, New York’s once au fait tides of people, confining streets, and varying odors became de rigueur again.  But it began to set in:

We were going back.

I was exciting to be back, sad to leave, but happy I had such a good time.  More troubling was a nagging question in the back of mind:

Was I leaving home or returning home?

The flight back was arduous in the least, excruciating at most.  Qatar airlines was plenty nice, but the stop in Geneva, and over night in Doha, despite being at the Ritz Carlton, made the three 7 hour legs of the journey rough.

Not to mention the impeding doom awaiting us in The Heart of Darkness.

The news had been anything but kind to Kenya and all the violence tearing the nation in two.  We were somewhat apprehensive, about it, though all my friends in the area said things were ok, the violence relegated mostly to hinterlands and slums.

We arrived in Kenya, and the place was in ruins. No cabs were at the airport, so much smoke arose from the city that there was a visible haze everywhere.  Armed guards were everywhere and people with machetes were held at bay by men on horseback along the sides of the road.

Actually, no.  It was nothing like that at all.

It was business as usual.  Despite more trouble at customs than ever before—though still not amounting not much at all—everything seemed normal.  Billboards advertising Odinga, Kalanzo and Kibaki still stood along Mombasa highway gazing through the viewer like a specter from a future that never was.  We arrived at our litle house and had barely unpacked before the phone started ringing.  We want straight to IanJimmyJames’ place and had some drinks with some old friends.  It was a wonderful evening, laughing and catching up, the guys in the yard playing one-armed drinking cricket and the girls talking about us, most likely.

Later that night, The Girl and I ending up at a party with Z and a ponytail-less PonyTail.  He had to cut it off to be a double for Matthew Modine.

We spent most of Sunday sleeping, watching movies, and enjoying the comfort of our own bed.

It was home, I guess.

At least for a little a while.