Monday, July 18, 2011

Lusaka Photos, Part I

Lately my connection speed has been picking up, probably in part due to internet rationing, so this weekend I’m posting Part I of my set of favorite Lusaka photos. I’m making this update by e-mail, so I can’t do anything fancy with the picture placement/formatting; if they all ended up in the order I wanted them, then the brief captions below should make sense:
  1. The company dorms. I live on the second floor, farthest door on the left.
  2. My room! To the right is a table and chair; to the left, out of sight, is a wardrobe and set of shelves.
  3. My desk. A coworker just left today, though, so soon I’ll be moving to the one visible off to the right.
  4. A view of the courtyard and offices, taken from just outside my door.
  5. A group of the younger folks sharing dinner.
  6. Cola chicken wings and super-awesome fish. And drinking red wine out of bowls.
  7. The company’s other courtyard – more of a homey feel, though not as modern or spacious as ours.
  8. The Company Baby (TM)... driving a forklift.
  9. Where Chinese workers congregate, there will be Chinese-style entertainment...
  10. My favorite picture of the summer – a beat-up 4WD littered with a mix of Chinese and African bumper stickers, seen outside a nearby Chinese-run lumber yard. Just looking at this car, I feel like it must have a ton of history behind it, and at least a hundred interesting stories; even more so as it was probably originally bought (and used) in a nearby country, as the steering wheel looks to be on the left and neither of the flags are Zambian.

Brief weekly recap:
 - This week was full of meals and toasts, as the company’s translator (the aforementioned coworker) has fulfilled the two years on his contract and is going back to China. I’ve also been working on a 3-to-4-minute min publicity video for the company, which I’m doing with an excellent video camera (I want one!), but editing 1) in iMovie and 2) without any experience... Anyway, fingers crossed and we’ll see how it comes out.
 - Yesterday my friend Thomas invited me and a few other folks over for the evening. We ate some dinner, played some games (it turns out I’m still a Battleship champ), and eventually headed out for what was my first real casino experience. I pretty quickly lost about as much as I was willing to lose in one night - $30, as I’m on a tight budget after Victoria Falls - but in my defense, I never really understood all the rules of blackjack before yesterday, and I think I handled the learning curve pretty well. (Which I suppose is just another way of saying that I lost the vast majority of my money almost immediately.) It was also a pretty laid-back environment (unlike, I’m told, casinos in America), on all sides; I misread my cards one hand and asked for a hit when I was already at 20, and instead of finishing me off the dealer just sort of looked at me with eyebrows raised and waited for me to reconsider.
 - This morning I went for a game of Ultimate (frisbee), which was also a ton of fun. I’m no good, particularly at offense, but there was a mix of skill levels and a good amount of people (~20), so we all had a good time. I spent a lot of time guarding a Marine who’s stationed at the U.S. Embassy; he was massive and willing to lay out/etc, but not very skilled, so we were about even. Having forgotten all about sunscreen, I also discovered that I don’t even burn under a few hours of full Zambian sun any more! I had a great time; I think that living (almost) exclusively in the expat community within a larger society definitely keeps you from understanding it and ultimately being a part of it, but I absolutely love getting together with expats now and then, as they’re usually really interesting and a lot of fun – and I think that becomes more true the farther you get off the beaten track.

Less than 22 days – and, I’d guess, about three more blog entries – until I’m on the plane home. Hope you haven’t missed me too much.

1 comment:

  1. I haven't been commenting much, but I've enjoyed reading immensely! Bravo on creating a such a unique experience for yourself, Ethan, and taking initiative to make all this happen.

    Any chance of getting that promo video online, so we can all check it out?