Friday, August 19, 2005

Something Wicked This Way Comes


You know, I hadn't really realised how much I missed them. Nor had I realised how much I missed being able to chat about them - think about the finer things, taste the finer things and just take time out to watch the world go by.

Because, that's one of the things about smoking a cigar. I don't really see the point of smoking one indoors, and it's impossible (indeed it feels taboo - and not in a positive way) for me to be anything but relaxed outside when I'm smoking one. So a casual stroll, or a quiet sit peppered with conversation and that drowsiness that the nicotine slips over. Enjoying the outdoors. Enjoying the time away from hustle. Enjoying the truly Buddhist sensation (in a not-so-Buddhist slightly drugged state) of just being, for an hour or so.

And then there's the nice cigar. Romeo y Julietta - the Cuban variety. Churchill size. That's a serious, and seriously delicious cigar. In short, I have found another cigar-lover. One that happens to have the opportunity to travel relatively often - to places where you can purchase the good tobacco. Hmmm.

And with that - adieu for now - with one last comment. Richard - send me an email. You should be able to find my address by following my name, if not leave yours in a comment and I'll delete that so that it doesn't get sucked up by a junk mail sniffer.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Noisy Bugs

Brief impressions...

As anyone, in the Okanagan or otherwhere warm climes, who has heard them will attest, Cicadas are bizarre critters. Somehow in the noise and dust and construction and garbage that haunts every inch of Tunis, their rhythmic humming seems even more foreign.

The first time I actually identified what it was, I had to double-take and make sure it wasn't just a short-circuiting street-lamp. I stood there, transfixed in the evening's pooling light, staring until I could make out the little brown body on the steel post.

Since then, I've been finding them everywhere. On an overhanging fig tree, on a scraggly bush (perched above garbage tubs - that smelled most sentimental), they give new meaning to the urban jungle.

Monday, August 15, 2005

Liquid Night

Wednesday afternoon half the enda headquarters staff left for a
semi-annual review. It was planned that we would spend Wednesday
night, all day Thursday and most of Friday evaluating the work done to
date, and what was left to do in order to meet the organizational
objectives of 2005.

We had little time to play, with meetings taking between 8 and 12
hours per day, and it would have been nice to have more time to get
away, as we had driven 3 hours to Tabarka, on the North-West corner of
Tunisia, near Algeria, for the working retreat.

As it turned out, after a staff dinner in the little tourist port
town, we managed to sneak about 3 hours, between 11PM and 2AM to
ourselves. Myself, a French intern, and six Tunisians found our way
to the beach and dug our swim suits out of our bags. We took turns
changing under towels on the unlit beach until we (the five of us who
wished to brave the waters) were transformed into beach-goers.

Leaving our day clothes under the protective eyes of our colleagues,
we rushed the water, running until it was too deep and our legs got
tangled in the black mass of liquid and we toppled over. The water
was the same temperature as the air, and the only way to distinguish
between them was the soft englobing pressure of the salty sea water
below and the still air above. We splashed around for a few minutes,
reveling in the freedom of the wild water and the night, after such a
long day in uncomfortable seats around a board table.

It was with a soft intake of breath that I first noticed it: the
horizon. The horizon was indistinguishable. The starry sky overhead
was spangled with stars, several of them shooting and streaking away
in little winks of light. The water, the same dark colour as the sky,
ran away from the eye and into the sky, where their texture and colour
blended seamlessly. We were as good as swimming in the sky, I told my
friends, who smiled and agreed. And when we realized that there
phosphorescence were winking with our moving limbs we laughed and
declared that we could make our own stars. It was a wonderful moment,
and we stayed floating in the dark water until we were too sleepy to
stay any longer.

What a feeling to float in the darkness all wrapped in the salty night
sky. I recommend it to anyone, anytime.