Tuesday, November 12, 2013


Phew! Prompted by a strong aversion to giving myself up to the native fauna, I found a place to wash my face, scratched at my hair until it, at least, laid down, and marched our small group to the nearby (and only) motel. A girl in the office told us that, her parents, the owners of the motel and the Mayor of the city and his wife, were out of town. She decided to help us, though, and gave us two rooms for free. They were just tiny windowless cubby-holes, with no source of light, but it beat sleeping outside. images (275×183)   I was alone in the room. As soon as I closed the door, full darkness descended: I couldn't even see a hand in front of my face. When I went to the shower, which was outside for all tenants to use, I realized, there was no light there either. I went to find a maintenance guy to ask him for a flashlight, at least. It was a mistake. The flashlight cast very tiny light, but - a lot of large shadows. They were the shadows of every bug in the shower that I didn't need, or want, to see! At one point the flashlight fell and whirled on the floor. A macabre show passed in front of me: insects of every size or nature, covering the walls and the ceiling.
                                                                                                                                           insects-and-biodiversity-5.jpg (250×250)

     Falling asleep wasn't a problem, but just a little later I was awakened by a loud cracking bang. I sat up in bed, sure that someone was trying to break the door. "They got the guys already!" - I thought in panic. Another bang and then another! They sounded even more ominous, since I couldn't see anything at all in the room. In between the bangs I heard some kind of liquid whispering. As all this continued to go on without anybody actually showing up in my room, I realized that the noise was coming from some fruit falling on the tin roof, and the whispers were, the dew coming off the tree. At least, that's what I decided to believe.
     The morning brought more surprises. In the communal bathroom's corner I saw a nest made of some material the nature of which we do not discuss in polite company. The opening of the nest was at least two inches wide. I really didn't want to meet whoever occupied that nest!
     We wandered around, looking at sites and people. The City Hall was the finest building in the city: it was made of alabaster marble, the perfect dome testifying to a Muslim influence in its architecture.

images (287×175)     

     I pulled out my camera (the sad experience of almost getting beat up by a crowd for trying to take their picture taught me nothing). "Don't"- said the African brother. "Why", - I replied, - "the people of Bosum would, probably, be happy to show off their beautiful City Hall!"
     The second I took that picture we were taken into custody and brought into the same City Hall for questioning by the Deputy Mayor. He took his time with us, covering his lofty behind in case if someone asks, why he let some foreigners take pictures of their precious City Hall. I fell back on my memory of being questioned by the KGB and did fine, blinking like a naive idiot and spouting all kinds of flattery for Bosum, the CAR, the City Hall and the Deputy Mayor. Finally, he decided that he did his duty and sent us to register at the Police Department. 

     We walked there under guard, who rode a bicycle, while trying not to drop a huge Russian rifle. The guard directed us onto a path through a lot, overgrown by tall, man's height, grass. As we walked into the middle of it, he got off the bicycle and took off his rifle. "That's it" - I thought - "nobody will even know, what happened to us!"
                                                                                                                                          images (284×177)
                                           The guard was scary, but at least there was no rhinoceros!

     The guard said in French "You must now take my picture and send it back to me after you develop it!" Incensed, I attempted to tell him where I'd like to put that picture, but Gabriel, the African brother, wisely clapped his hand over my mouth and shut me up. The authorities triumphed over me again!

Copyright protected

No comments:

Post a Comment