Friday, August 5, 2011

The stark truth of fluros

Last night I went out for dinner with my colleague J, who I'm filling in for while she's away. We talked about the challenges for information management in this response, we talked about the personalities, the dynamics and all the other things that are going to make this work so interesting. We sat in a restaurant called Hill Top, but it wasn't actually at the top of the hill, but was high enough to see the lights of Addis, though they were muted through the clouds.

As we left we spotted a film crew. An attractive couple were sitting at a table outside engrossed in conversation as the cameraman moved around them. It was only when we had made it to the bottom of the stairs that we realised there was no sound - they'd been miming their lines to be dubbed in later.

We stopped at my guesthouse, as J had about 45 minutes to kill before she had to go to the airport. The power was out, as as neither of us fancied walking up the 5 flights of stairs to my pokey little room, we sat on a couch in the lobby. Lit by candlelight, J commented that it seemed really cosy and nice. There was a huge map of the world on the wall beside us, so we played games of how many countries we could name that started and ended with the same letter, and my favourite parlour game; there are 10 countries that only have 4 letters, what are they? (No googling allowed!) So we geographied our way through about half an hour, paying no attention to the three people sitting on the couch opposite us. There were two elderly Italian men and an Ethiopian woman.

Suddenly the lights came back on. The 'cosy and nice' atmosphere of the candlelight was replaced with bright fluorescent lights. A water feature of a cherub pouring water out of a vessel came to life, as did the neon rope lights that were strung around it. And the old man's hand on the young woman's leg became very noticeable as well. The door opened and another young Ethiopian woman strode in, followed by another elderly Italian gentleman. She greeted the receptionist by name and took a key and was followed up into the lift. When I went up to my room later I opened the drawer on the bedside table and noticed the condom.

So while my guesthouse may be a bit of a brothel, at least they encourage safe sex. I was asked to move out this morning as a room had opened up in another guesthouse that some colleagues are staying in - who knows what I'll find there!

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