Hot Hot Heat

“Hello, you’re welcome, I like very much”

He said, pointing to my sunglasses perched above my sweaty forehead.

“You give to me? Yes, thank you. I like very, very much.”

Hopeful look.

“I like these very much too. Thank you, have a nice day.”

Shopping for some fruit and wine to bring back to my couchsurfing host, I had walked out in the midday heat that was oppressively hot. The sky was filled with dust and the local mosque shivered golden and blue along the skyline.

“Bonjour!”some worker called out—despite the language spoken in the city being English. I haven’t spoken French since DR Congo.

Ça va?”

A green, beat-up taxi (they’re called ‘drop cars’) off Nile Street honked as I tried to walk nonchalantly towards a busier intersection away from the house—that was easy enough.

“Supermarket please. How much?”

“200 Naira.”

Now in a large, cracking cement building, doing shopping, I remembered that in Africa, I am “white.” Curious eyes followed, people introduced themselves and were quite friendly.

No fresh fruit. So I left and decided to hire a car for the day. The next cab that pulled up was driven by a very serious man with fine scars cut delicately along his cheeks in simple crisscrossing patterns. He ferried me around to a local fruit market where I bargained for pineapples, watermelons, avocados and some green oranges.

Next stop—where’s the wine?

Several shops later, we ended up at a Chinese bakery where a young businessman from Shanghai became very excited.

“You speak Chinese?”

“A little. Wo de zhongwen bu tai hao.” (A little, my Chinese isn’t very good…)

After giving me his number (my little list growing!) and wishing me good luck, Olilobello (taxi driver) and I continued our search for wine that was unsuccessful so we finally headed back to my host’s home. The rest of the evening was spent playing in the pool with little Deborah and one of my hosts.

In the evening, the ‘International women of Abuja’ assembled for an amazing Italian dinner that made you forget you were in Africa. Coming from all embassies, the ex-pat crowd is small. Sitting and listening to all their stories of travel, Nigeria and other places–it must be fascinating work. I’m in love with anything that involves movement and travel.

The restaurant chef was a tiny Italian women who didn’t speak a word of English. Grandmotherly and sweet, she had been brought down to cook authentic Italian food. She was simply adorable. Armed with an impressive wine selection, this will probably be the best meal I’ll eat for awhile.

Ending the evening with some tea and chitchat, I’m so happy to be back in Africa. The terrible flighty feeling is somewhat at rest now.

Tomorrow, my fellow American will arrive and we will spend the day going to immigrations to extend our visas, buy supplies and prepare to head into the bush!

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