Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Africa: Day 4 (The Longest Day)

Well, technically it’s my 4th day in Africa, but this will most definitely go down as the worst day I have ever spent in this country. For many reasons, both professional and personal, I can not divulge all the details, and BELIEVE me I would love nothing more than to release my pent up frustrations here on this keyboard. However, there are others who read this blog who wouldn’t appreciate the professional discourtesy of having me air my professional problems in a public forum.

So, how do I explain my day? Well, to begin with, it’s currently 1:45 in the morning at the moment and I just came out of a three hour meeting in which I was lambasted from all sides and then patronized, and then told HOW to do what I’m paid to KNOW how to on my own. When you add that to the other two arguments I’ve already had today regarding these same issues, it just sums up to be a bad day.

Dinner was the highlight of my night tonight, eating with the team at the Murina, an Italian restaurant that has the best steak I have ever had in this country, or maybe even in ANY country. It was a REALLY good steak! I guess I’d say it was about a 24 ounce T-Bone… and I’m a great steak lover.

I had planned to spend the rest of the night here at the hotel with April, trying to get some cuddle time in, some “us” time, and just to enjoy being ourselves here, not the project manager and an employee. However, the meeting I left for a 10 PM which just now ended has pretty much blown my mood, my plans, and my day. I’m not one to usually whine, but damnit I really wanted to escape this day in my own way and not have to put up with the same mess tonight. Now, 4 hours later, I guarantee I’m going to have the same problems later. No one seems to believe that I can fix these problems if I can just get ONE simple hour of ONE person’s time. Ack.. it’s not important. You all have better things to do that sit here and listen to me whine. Hell, Marisa is eventually going to read this, get to about HERE and then say…”Nah.. too boring” and go back to MySpace. Lol. (Don’t deny it. You know you are.)

With your attention spans dwindling by the second, how can I think of something to pique your interest? (Really, I just want to use pique in context there.. lol. I’ve accomplished that finally. Ah ha! One small victory for Tommy today!)

I can tell you a little of my thoughts since I’ve arrived. I found myself amazed how much this feels like “home” now. When I got into the country and took a cab from the airport to my hotel, my senses were greeted in much the same fashion as when I go home to the ocean from Greenville. I remembered sights and smells in such a manner that from inside my head, it seemed that I had never left. Now, I’m sure I’ll be dying to get back to the USA before too long, but for now Africa is my second home. Libya is very much native to me now. I find myself adjusting my personality, character, and even posturing completely by second nature. It’s no longer a thought process to determine how to get things done that I need to get done. It helps that I’m more prepared this time though. My last trip was three months long, which is quite long enough for ANYONE to acclimate to a social environment.

It’s funny to realize that I find the sounds of the Mosque to be comforting when I hear them, a reminder of where I am and what I’m experiencing. The foods are a hazard that I negotiate now with practiced ease. Shopping, taxis, how to speak to locals; all of these things come second hand to me now.

On my first trip here, when I would walk into my coffee room at work, I would wonder what in the hell that guy was doing sitting on a towel with his head banging on the floor. Now, instead, I look at my watch and think “oh yeah, it’s time for prayer” and I automatically know to give him about 5 minutes and then return again to ask for my Nescafe. Carrying toilet paper with me to the bathroom is a habit now, not a conscious choice.

Some things however, will never be comfortable here apparently. For example, last night at 11:45 while I was up working, I decided that I wanted a coffee from the bar in the hotel. The last time I was here I taught the chef here to prepare what I dubbed “Café Americana.” So, there I go at almost midnight, strolling through the lobby of this hotel in my PJ pants, a tank top, and barefoot. I mean, come on… who gets dressed for coffee? The hotel manager chased out after me as I was returning from the bar and asked me what was wrong? Why was I in my night clothes? He called it a strip tease. He actually asked me if I had been drinking Whiskey too much that evening. Now, knowing that, I know that I’ve found a “source” for whiskey. He knew what it was, what the brands were, and how to get it… hehehe…. Woohoo. I wonder if I can get Southern Comfort here? Drinking a shot of SoCo in honor of me and Doc would be a privilege that would like to enjoy one time while I’m here.

Ok, it’s 2 AM now and I’m still sitting here, though I’m occasionally distracted by watching April try and crochet herself INTO the blanket. She sleeps the weirdest here that I’ve ever seen. Of course, she also hates the mattress in this hotel. She compares it quite closely to the marble floors. I’m a guy though, so I’m used to that kind of stuff. It’s one of the things that I don’t think about, although I DID actually hurt my knee tonight when I plopped on the bed on it. Do you have any idea how hard a mattress has to be to actually cause you PAIN when you drop on it?

Well, it’s Wednesday morning technically and I think I’m going to go to bed. I need to be up in 4 hours or so and I have at least a 12 hour day tomorrow. I plan to spend all day Friday relaxing in my room and catching up on the Internet while I get my laundry done, so I’ll chat with ALL of you in a little more detail then.

I’ll post this in the morning when I get to work, but Ciao for now!



  1. very funny Tommy...I made it all the way through the post this time. I am really not looking forward to diving head first into the file i need to get into. Oh, and by the way, i DON'T have Myspace
    Solitare now occupies my time!

  2. Lol.. so you read all the way through as a way to procrastinate? I knew I loved you for a reason.

  3. I dont have a myspace either. My HS students might find out how much fun I actually have, blowing the deep cover for teachers world wide.

    Hey Tommy, hang in thee dude. I dont have SoCo here but I do have some 10yr Bushmills and some Jameson's ( yes, I am an Irish whiskey gal myself./ So I shall have a nip in your honor and polish off the glass for myself!
    Give April a BIG hug for me.

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