The reason we came back to the Cote on Saturday arvo rather than Sunday was to attend a farewell party at the MSF house. We'd been informed late in the drive back that it would be a "summer beach" theme, so the sarong I'd bought came in very handy. We rocked up to find the national staff engrossed in the karaoke machine (singing such mega hits as Elton John's Skyline Pigeon) and six bins of beer. My stomach gave a protesting grumble, I looked at Nic who'd had a bit of a cold for a few days, but it would've been rude for us not to partake!!
At some point, it became obvious that a party game was trying to be organised, and after a lot of yelling and squealing, we'd been formed into lines (expats at the front) in front of bowls of flour on a bench. There were coins hidden in each bowl and you could only use your face to find them. It was way more fun just smearing flour on people afterwards!!
Then came the "bitter melon game". A bitter melon bears a strong resemblance to a knobbly cucumber, or a snozzcumber for those who remember the BFG. The men formed a circle, facing out, and then the women formed a circle around them facing in. Then the snozzcumbers were distributed to the men, who were instructed to hold them between their upper thighs...yes, it's just as suggestive as your imaging. It suddenly clicked to me what this game was going to be. "Oh my god," I muttered to the MSF doctor in front of me, "it's musical cucumbers!" And sure enough, when the music started, the women danced around the men and when it stopped, you had to find yourself a bitter melon to grab hold of...yeah, it's a bit awkward with people you haven't met before. And I would've thought even more awkward for the national staff, considering most of the men were expats and their bosses!
Then, there was more karaoke (my namesake Carly Simon's "You're so vain" was my contribution) and dancing, and Nic turned to me and said, "you know, after two sudafeds and four beers, I'm feeling pretty great!" I'm disappointed that I didn't take my camera as it was definitely a party worth coming back for!
And here, for the first time (for many of us including me), is Elton John's "Skyline Pigeon"