"Africa is, indeed, coming into fashion." - Horace Walpole (1774)


people laugh and love and dream they fight they hate to die

Very nice, laid-back weekend, in an expatriate-aid-workers-are-the-new-colonists kind of way. I was supposed to go to a party at the Red Cross house on Saturday night but didn't have a ride and was feeling a little sick, so I just stayed in, slept through church, and woke up feeling much better on Sunday afternoon. I went for a run that ended by the tennis courts at Karibu, where my friends Marc, Emmanuel, and Damien were playing tennis with a bunch of Damien's colleagues. Somehow I got talked into being Marc's partner in mixed doubles, which was interesting given that it's been, oh, six years since I'd been on a court. Thank goodness for those Baylor lessons and all those afternoons Lauren and I would go goof around on the Penland courts. If only my backhand were what it used to be...

Anyway, they invited me to dinner at this Indian food restaurant, where I met UK Ben, who works for the same organization as Damien. Here's the conversation that ensued:

UK Ben, "So what university are you at?"
Me: "The University of Texas
UK Ben: "In Austin."
Me: "Wow, that's impressive. Most foreigners don’t know that."
UK Ben: "I'm really into music. Is Calexico from Austin?"
Me: "No, Tucson, but they played Austin twice last year."
UK Ben: "What about Wilco?"
Me: "Um, yeah, we're all obsessed."
UK Ben: "Tweedy's a god."
Me: "We're going to get along just fine."

You have no idea how cool it is to find someone with decent taste in music in the middle of Africa. Much as I do enjoy African music, most of the stuff coming out of the Congo these days is really, really, really, really, really, really repetitive Lingala. And the expats, being 99% European, generally listen to Britpop/techno/dance garbage. The last thing I expected to spend two and half hours talking about over Indian food in Goma was the Jayhawks and Son Volt and what Wilco played in England and Pitchfork versus the Brit indie rock websites, but there you go. I'm afraid we were rather rude to the other eleven people at the table, but, well, good taste won out over cultural sensitivity.


Blogger mark said...

sounds like you had a better convo about music in africa then you could have had at my house. joe scruggs, anyone?

regina has me read yoru blog every now and then, but i finally remembered to add you to my 'list' so i'm catching up. i'm glad things are going well!

Tuesday, March 07, 2006 11:11:00 AM


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