Just About Everything

February 21, 2008

The explosion released more of a sensation than a sound.

It hit one’s solar plexus like a roller-coaster drop. Condiment bottles rattled on the table and lanky, awkward birds took to the sky from out of the marshy lake a few meters away.

We were used to detonations up here at what’s called Rock City. Jebel Kajul mountain is constantly being blasted and chipped away and reduced into various rock sizes, from boulders to gravel.

What we were not used to was blasts from that direction. A turbulent, grayish plume was rising from the camp down the road. Heads turned and a murmur swept over the dining room.

But most customers shrugged and returned to their meals.

It turned out that a Lebanese company was hired to blow up a rock obstructing the construction of a parking lot. They used twice as much dynamite as they should’ve, sending shards of white granite in every direction.

No one was badly hurt.It was my first week back in The ‘Dan.It was alright. My time Nairobi was short and sweet, and although I was a little disappointed to be managing again, it was good to see the old crew. In the next few days, El Berkerino, Buckshot, & Raleigh were all leaving.Only El Berkerino would be returning for sure.

The going away parties were great. Everybody was out in full force, and I managed to DJ both, bringing some sophistication to the events. So many parties play a lot of Shakira and old 50 Cent, I consider it somewhat of a civic duty to bring some RJD2, LCD Soundsystem, and Justice to the party.

It was sad to see Buckshot and Raleigh departing. I don’t think I would’ve gotten through that first year without the company of my good friends. The three of us were a team professionally and personally, almost always the three of us would be there, no matter what was going on.

With the proper send off—an d El Berkerino gone—I realized, for the moment, I was the longest tenured senior employee of my firm. That notion was a little scary.

In the weeks that followed, I commuted from the Rock to an International Development Agency’s compound, where The Girl was working. It was gonna be a bit tough for us. I was 10 minutes away, with no transport and she was in the most secure place in town, and I technically wasn’t allowed there to begin with.

But early on, I stopped by for a movie night, with my hard drive of 130 or so films.

After showing a recent oscar nominee, the following day it was suddenly decreed that more visitors would be allowed. And I was approved.

Huh.

Technology saves the day again.

Since then, the days have been long, ensuring my restaurant and my compound is running as smoothly as possible. I’ve taken to ensuring the quality of food standards are up to stuff while still trying to manage my project remotely. The nights at the International Development Agency’s compound have been nice. And I’ve been spending Sundays at the pool at the International Development Agency, some early saturdays at the gym. Whereas my last three tours were marked only by work and parties, this one has been decidedly less so. I’m commuting, I’m getting a little personal time, and I feel like I’m working a real job; in a real place.

So this tour has been very different from the previous three, and very pleasant. Strangely, as I know most of the expatriates community, and the scene that surrounds it, it’s as if I’m becoming at strangely at home in this place. That said, it’s still as if I await eagerly the next trip, the next time out of Sudan.

It’s not as if I’ve arrived at an impasse, but rather a state of contentment: I’ve got everything I need here.

Well, everything beside an air-conditioner, I suppose.