Wednesday, February 22, 2012

kinshasa: home away from home!

hiddly hey neighborinos! 
so instead of emptying our NGO budget into the coffers of some dismal animal bullying hotel in kinshasa, we've kicked it up a notch: how about a furnished apartment! and as the sign outside clearly states in crooked homemade lettering, this is a "luxury furnished apartment." oh, but there's no sheets or towels. there are king sized beds with twin sized mattresses, and 2 cups and a plate. and a set of peach pleather chairs, giant industrial air conditioners in every room, but only one remote control for all of them - there's a whole new mearning to fighting over the remote - i f-ing froze last night!! the shower is one of those fancy million-jet cabin things with orange hued mosaic tile, only, there's just a metal tube that spits water. consider it a ghetto college student group house! with a view!
this little birdie knocks on my window in the morning
but what it lacks in character, it totally makes up for in internet! and the dishwasher, his name is pazi and he also makes eggs to order every morning at 7. i will add poaching to his omelet-only repertoire and we're all set. 
it's a short walk to the office. though still kinda sketchy, i guess. my roommates have all gotten mugged or kidnapped, multiple times, which puts the risk of something happening at, well, 300%? but that's only at night.
the great thing is that i don't have to go out for 45$ pizza, i can cook for myself! so i went to the store. had to be quick though, because the sun was setting, witching hour...all the street vendors, the cell phone people, the photocopiers, the broom salesman, even the guy hawking piles of wooden pallets and the used shoe dude were all packing up. i entered the K-mart, a miniscule replica of its namesake, 2 tiny isles of goods like you would find in a gas station. 
nothing has prices on it, they all have codes. 57, 33, 1094, and i tried every numerical calculation but no variable has any correlation to actual value, it's a total surprise. like playing bingo! the other guy in the store was just asking the lady, how much is a 75? what about an 11? and she would finish texting, look up annoyingly, type on the machine, and finally mutter something. but i did not have time for this. i was racing like on iron chef. which was a little difficult because of the security guy, an awkward old man in baggy jeans who i guess was trying to observe my inevitable shoplifting (the prices, as it turns out are horrendous). but you see, because of said danger situation i had neither a purse or bag - it wasn't like i was going to put this ham up my skirt (who trew dat ham at me?)!  this guy was hovering over me, staring, i could smell his b.o. and hear his breathing, inches away, and then when i would bump into him, or say excuse me, he'd look at his watch like, oh i'm just standing here, lululu, checking the time, lalala.
there was some laughing cow cheese that i swear is supposed to be refridgerated, right? there are no fridges here, oh except for the beer. so this cheese was on a shelf in between the cereal and the weißwurst that had a big white label on it that read "aged gouda." there was some salami labeled "american cheddar." hmm. quite the selection of cheese! that was the only thing with a normal text, everything else was either arabic, or eastern european letters with squigglies - i can't really tell the difference between czech or romanian.
i only had 30$ in m pocket, so i had to be economical. and as my dear brother has taught me, you only need 3 ingredients to make a decent meal. rice, onions, and vinegar. they didn't have any lemon. i blew half my budget on the vinegar, and filled in the rest with a hopelessly unripe giant avocado (should have know, the guy weighed it, and stuck on code 666!), a hungarian beer i never heard of and 4 yogurts, 2 of which i had to put back because i didn't have enough cash. wait, they take credit cards??? i'm coming back for my yogurt tomorrow!

No comments: