So here I am, in the UN headquarters in North-Western Nairobi. It's only been a little over a week and I already have enough material to write a book. That's Africa for you. But seeing as the tense situation in the city isn't going to cool in the next few days and I don't have a lot to do right now, why not start at the beginning.. Just days before christmas I realized that my hair was too long and I didn't have time to get a haircut. Kindly my Sancho Pancha, Mark, stepped up and offered to help me in cutting it with a home barber machine. Due to a miscommunication in the process (I thought Mark had put a plastic part back on to the cutting blade, but obviously he hadn't.) I ended up with a bald streak from my forehead to my monkey butt, so I had to shave it all off. The feedback was abundant. My new look also reduced Mark into a hysterically giggling heap every five minutes for the next day or so.. It seems to be turning into a farewell ritual.
My last night in Helsinki didn't exactly go as planned either, as a cheerful reunion turned into an awkward smiling-session, so when the morning finally came I was more than ready to leave the country.
The people-watching turned out to be a lot more boring that I thought. Instead of the dynamic, high-paced, multicultural airport that I thought Heathrow to be, I found myself in a crowded, uninteresting Terminal 3 with a lot of cranky people, who waited for the same 5 flights leaving in several hours. On the upside, I got to spend that time with two of my fellow country-persons, K and A. They were heading to Nairobi as well and were did a pretty good job at killing the 12 hours. It included wondering what the multi-faith prayer room might look like and being too lazy to actually walk the 15 meters, having a rather absurd christmas dinner at TGI Friday's, building innovative lounging systems out of benches and chairs that were clearly not designed for it, arguing over who won the useless guessing quiz, telling international stories (mostly me) and complimenting me on all the international achievements (also mostly me), buying 3 different types of adapters and returning them all, and so on..
The flight itself was mind-numbingly uneventful. I was actually hoping for turbulence at one point, just to see some action, but it was no use. I was sitting between an African-American African woman (i.e. a black Kenyan) and an obese Englishman (a fat geezer), so I if would have tried to get comfortable, let alone sleep I would surely created some kind of minority issue. So I was stuck watching bad movies at ever poorer quality on a screen that was literally smaller than the one in my cell phone (it's 2008, British Airways, wake the funk up!!). Finally we touched down and miraculously I found the tiny blondie that I am often affiliated with. The weather was amazing and hasn't changed since, go figure. We got home, which turned out to be a lovely house in a safe neighborhood, and to my surprise, our room was big, clean and cool. I suddenly remembered that I had slept about 2 hours in the last 2 days and passed out.
Two definite christmas highlights for The J-Man:
1) a dude on the plane that looked exactly like Fidel Castro (not resembling slightly, but as if he were Fidel's clone or at least a twin brother). Naturally I stared at him in amusement until he couldn't decide whether I was hitting on him or plotting to kill him and asked me if he could help me. I wrestled with the urge to ask him if he knew how to run a medium size Caribbean country, but chickened out at the last minute and uttered something to the extent of "sorry, no, yes..moustache..it was steve..sorry"
2) I was forced to shave my beard again, due to a bet that got me nothing, even though I won it. That sucked. But I guess it's better that my garufrendoo talks to me if we're going to share a bed for the next few months.
Check back for a report on race, beer and meat within the week-end. [tags]united, nations, nairobi, fidel[/tags]