Ndjamena, Chad 2011

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Aside from a missed airport shuttle and a 500 yard dash down the terminal to reach my plane (last passenger on), the flights to Chad went pretty smoothly. A quick layover in DC, one last slice of pizza, then a layover in Addis Abbaba, a beer (8 am, y’all, that’s how I roll), and finally to Chad around 1 pm on Wednesday. Of course I didn’t sleep on the plane and instead watched six movies.
I spent Thursday and Friday settling in, unpacking my suitcases and some of our boxes from Sudan. It’s nice to see all of our souvenirs and momentos around the place. I can’t believe I still have 30- yes, 30- boxes of stuff at mom’s house. How is that possible? Does it breed when I’m not there, creating new stuff all the time? I can’t wait until we move to DC next year and will truly have all our belongings at one place, one time. Get ready for a garage sale.

We tried a few restaurants around town- according to the “Welcome to Ndjamena” handout we got, there are about 10 here in town- and had some pretty good food. Restaurant prices aren’t too bad, about $40 (or 20,000 CFA- Central African Francs) for the two of us. We tried a Lebanese place, a pizza place, and a French restaurant- very good beef medallions with a yum sauce at that one. There is also a couple of Chinese places, a couple of Chadian places, and I think another Lebanese place as well.
Grocery shopping, on the other hand, was not so successful. We visited 2 tiny little groceries- like the size of a small 7-11 back home- and spent about $50 at each one and came home with…. not much. No fresh fruits/veg, no fresh bread, no meats. Apparently everyone gets a maid 5 days a week and gives the maid some money to go to the outdoor market to purchase fresh food. I suppose if I was really brave I’d go to the outdoor market myself…. but after 8 years abroad, I already know that scene. Me, the only white lady there, plus 100 degrees outside, surrounded by dozens of begging, demanding, sometimes very aggressive vegetable ladies selling their wares- and all in French. No thanks, we’ll continue eating at restaurants and get somebody to do our shopping for us.  Five days a week maid? $110 for a month.
Speaking of the weather, it’s hot all right, (this is Cental Africa, yo) but not quite as bad as Khartoum. It’s rainy season right now, so it rains- and I mean really rains- every afternoon around 4 pm and that really cools things off, so you can actually go for a jog in the evening or something. And someone told me that the weather gets pretty nice by late October. I’m sure next April, May, June, July, and August will not be too great though.
Internet went out at our house Friday night, so no communications on Saturday or Sunday. I was really starting to panic by Monday afternoon, as I had a paper due in my grad class by midnight, so we went over to some friends’ house and I used the computer there and we watched the Emmy’s on AFN. Ah, good old Armed Forces Network. Right now our antenna at home doesnt’ work, so we need to get that fixed, but I’d like to wait until my Capstone week ends (starts Friday!).
Of course after going to the SOFLE guys’ house and using their computers, then to dinner for Chinese food, we came home and our internet was working.
Tuesday was a better day- I worked on my classwork a while, got all caught up, read all the requirements for my Capstone week- please, oh please let the internet work that week- and then I went to the Embassy for a security briefing (pretty basic: lock your doors and don’t get in a car accident… and buy evac insurance, just in case), visited the doctor there (he gave me some malaria pills- in 8 years I have never taken malaria pills but maybe this year I will start)- visited the CLO and her library (ooh, books and dvds- season 5 Grey’s Anatomy, perfect!), and finally met with the Public Affairs Officer who may have a job for me. Looks like that will all get decided soon (inshallah).
Chris and I were supposed to go to yoga at 5:30 at the Esso oil compound but it got canceled, so we went instead to the 531 club (5:31pm, get it?) and had a short happy hour with folks from the embassy. I met some more people and got a tentative job offer as an “escort” (always wanted to do that!)- no, it’s escorting Chadian workers to US government owned homes and property and making sure the work is being done. Sounds kind of boring but still better than staying home all day!
I’m going to French Conversation lesson tomorrow with Mrs. B, the ambassador’s wife, who is also from Dallas…. there’s also a possibility of tennis lessons at the French Rec center….. yoga…. possibly reorganizing the now defunct Ndjamena Hash House Harriers….. there’s a play being put on tomorrow that we’re supposed to go to, a reception on Thursday night for the new political affairs officer, and a goodbye party on Friday night for someone that is leaving here. So…. hopefully between my class and getting a job (hoping to talk to Esso oil people this week, see if they have any openings- they pay big bucks), plus lots of extra curriculars, our time won’t be too hard here. And Chris is going to Germany in November, so there is a possibility I could go along for a little R&R. We’ll see how it goes!

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