Monday, August 15, 2011

Looking on the brighter side of life.

Being stranded in Togo has not been an entirely unqualified disaster. There have been some fantastic moments to buoy my spirits and carry me through this rough patch.

First: chocolate. I had the foresight to buy 200g at the duty-free shop.

Oh. My. God. I almost cried.

I’ve enjoyed access to chocolate throughout my time in Africa, thanks the stroke of genius that made me pack a large stash. However, the chocolate has always been enjoyed (and shared) in small portions. There is something to be said for relishing a sense of abundance. I venture to guess it was this facet that brought on the waves of emotion: in the face of uncertainty and frustration, a notion of security.

Second: food. The hotel they sent me to is decidedly upscale, particularly for African standards. Meals are in three courses. For example, my lunch today was: (1) avocado with shredded lettuce, hard-boiled egg, and onion; (2) some cut of beef with a mouth-watering sauce plus steamed carrots; and (3) cantaloupe-like melon. And always, as much bread as I wish. French bread. With a hard crust. That doesn’t taste like cake. I just can’t stop eating it. It’s so. Freaking. Delicious.

Third: a hot shower. The first one I’ve had in two months.

Fourth: two new friends. Fellows likewise stranded by ASky’s incompetence, we commiserated over our misfortunes and bonded through a mutual disdain for the airline carrier. Cecelia and Eli. They are both tremendously friendly, inquisitive, and delightful conversation partners. They were also the only two other English-speaking persons in our party. We ended up chatting for hours over lunch and dinner, discussing Nigerian politics, African life, entrepreneurial spirit, and, of course, how we would chew out the management team of ASky. Eli is staying in Kinshasa, a booming DCR city just across the river from Brazza. I may get to meet up with him during my stay in the Congo.

Fifth: fast internet. Oh my god. I’ve missed you so much. Watching videos on YouTube? Hell yes.

Sixth: alone time. My first opportunity to have privacy. My first chance to not be surrounded by people and compelled to socialize. It’s giving me a battery recharge that I didn’t realize I needed until I found myself staying inside the hotel room all the time, despite a bustling city outside worth exploring.

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