Friday, April 12, 2013

More on Kassa

Author Note: Kees is pronounced Case.

Carrying on from my latest posts; Conakry, our building project and seeing that cow get slaughtered…....
We decided after a few days in Conakry, that we would move over to Kassa, escape the bustling capital city and stay in one of two small “resort/hotels” available and enjoy the peacefulness of our West African island. Kassa immediately felt like home.
I was actually pleasantly surprised when I found out we had a bathroom in our own room instead of complaining that the water was cold, the electricity only came on at 7pm and the shower was clogged and flooding. All that was important was the possibility of having such luxuries available; we were thrilled to once again have running water, a flushing toilet and electricity! Finding happiness in the simplicity of things we do daily without notice at home is what makes it so wonderful.
We spent our days waking up to the sound of birds chirping and soft waves stirring the sand right outside our hut. We’d throw the door open, jump back in bed and just watch the glistening ocean. With the place to ourselves we felt comfortable lying beneath white sheets in each other’s arms, dreaming to the soothing sounds of nature
Love was in the air, even the perky weaver birds were flirting, busy impressing each other and making nests in the palm trees. Is there possibly a better way to wake up to the world?
Restfully woken, we’d saunter over to the open restaurant patio overlooking the ocean, again with the place all to ourselves. We ate stale bread with coffee for breakfast on the balcony, with the perfect amount of refreshing wind blowing in. Leaning over the Ipad we’d play a competitive game of Monopoly.
“Sweet your throats better, isn’t it,’ I said matter-of-fact one morning, inquiring about the sore throat he’d brought on the trip.
“Yes!” he said, sounding surprised. “How'd you know?!?”
“Cause I have it.”
“No! Really?!?”

“Ya, and I was so careful too!”
Thinking I was so clever I’d suggested using separate water bottles on the trip.

Kees suddenly laughed and said, “Sweet, you were so careful with your water but then promptly insisted I use your toothbrush. ‘Here sweet, just use mine!’” he impersonated.

“Oh my GOSH! What a retard.” I can’t even believe myself sometimes.

Aside from the sore throat Kees brought with him from Holland we really didn’t get sick. We stopped taking our malaria pills halfway through the trip because they made us feel yucky and there were absolutely no signs of mosquitoes or any bugs at that! Just leave it to Kees, Mr. Perfect, to find a tropical island with absolutely no bothersome insects! There were no ants crawling into our hut to eat our food, no flies landing on our plates and no cockroaches sitting on our toothbrushes, it was amazing.
Some days we’d go exploring down the main dirt road of the island to visit our new neighbours in the nearby villages. Another time we walked along the coast, up and over rocks from beach to beach, not a single soul in sight.
Unfortunately on the side of the beach that faces the capital city, there is a lot of trash that has floated over and landed on the shores of Kassa, fortunately our side is still seemingly untouched and beautiful. This was a really romantic escapade, with a single 2L bottle of water in our hands, forget not sharing! The climb over the passages of rock was difficult for me but the coarse red rocks, against green palms, white sands and blue sky made it all worth it.
While  we stopped to take a break I came across a palm tree growing on an angle and decided it was the perfect opportunity to impress Kees and prove that I am indeed the same little Mowgli girl he picked up in Africa five years earlier. Stripping down and cracking my knuckles I was off and climbing.  On all fours, gripping that tree like a gangly monkey, I realized about halfway up how unbelievably terrified I am of heights, (I must add that to the 1,000 other things I’m afraid of) and decided I desperately needed to bear hug this tree.
 So now, stuck halfway up this tree I was screaming, “Oh my gosh, sweet! It’s falling. The tree is falling. I’m so scared. I can’t go any further. How am I going to get back down?!”

I know it sounds pathetic but in my mind the ground was starting to shift and spin, and I really don’t know whether or not the tree was about to fall, but in my mind it was already in mid-fall.

“Oh c’mon Savann, you can do it. You’re a little Mowgli girl. All Mowgli girls can climb palm trees.”

He was right! Of course I could climb this dang thing. I really did not want to and I was dizzy and shaky but I was so determined to impress that darn guy standing what felt a million miles below laughing at me. So, rather than descending  I continued to inch my way up until I reached the top! And just for good measure, I  made a few book advertisements.

“Sihpromatum – I Grew My Boobs in China”
On the way back down I realized just how sharp and rough palm tree bark is. Shimmying down backwards on bare legs, belly and arms is a painful experience but apparently proves to be good entertainment for whoever you’re with. *grumble*

On days that we weren’t on an adventure we’d sit either on the beach outside our hut or at the restaurant working on our computers, the owners black lab keeping us company. I think I love just sitting under a palm with the perfect wind and temperature in the shade working on my book. I truly love my “office on the move”.
Late nights consisted of crab hunting on the beach strewn with hundreds of crab holes. Arm in arm, stumbling in the sand, with only a small flashlight and moonlight to guide us, we attempted to catch them off guard.
 It didn’t always work out because, despite trying to sneak past him, the owner’s black lab would always join us on our hunt and go crazy scattering all the crabs, ruining any chance of a surprise attack. 

One moonlit night coming back from our own property, we saw all the bats coming out. It was so exciting when we first realized they weren’t birds. I love that moment. There were lots of them all swarming around one big tree. I absolutely love bats, they are such special animals. The way they land upside down and crawl on the branches is so freaking cool. I love flying rodents with that badass reputation. There really is no better accessory to a full moon.

Coming back to our room the first night we discovered we had a little gecko friend.

When I caught the first one Kees said, “I can’t believe you caught it! How did you do that? I’ve never seen someone catch a gecko before. You really impress me.” But then he quickly decided that it was not my awesome skills but the fact that he was shining a flashlight in its face, thus making it confused.
The next morning while Kees was in the bathroom, I saw a really tiny little baby gecko and thought, “Hmph! Flashlight my butt. This should impress him.”

 Within a couple minutes I had him, ready in my hands.

Finally, sincerely impressed, Kees admitted it was not the flashlight.  “You are a true

Mowgli gecko catcher!”

Soooo a couple days later when I saw another one in our room I told Kees, “Look another one. Go get it. You can catch it! Catch it, catch it!”

Feeling confident now, he ran after the gecko, pushing furniture out of his way and pounced.

“Ooh no!!! Sweet! Its tail’s off n it's still wiggling. You see that? Oh noo. I feel so bad. Oh sweet, what did I do!!? Oh, I feel so terrible. I'm a gecko slayer.”

“You just karate chopped it in half?!”

“See, this is the reason I never tried to catch one before! I can catch it if I really want to… but I’m going to squish it!” In between moans of horror at what he just did I had to laugh. He was so devastated and horrified by himself that I’m sure he won’t be happy that I shared this story with you.

Luckily after a few minutes, the body part of the tiny gecko started to move. I was relieved he wasn’t dead but Kees was still moaning and crying about it. It was quite amazing how long the tail kept on wiggling about on the floor!

“Catch it. Catch it, she says! That was NOT good!!! I'm never catching a gecko again.”

And so, it was decided that I was the designated gecko catcher, and he will never again attempt such an act.

After consistently saying “Oh, just ONE more night,” our initial plan to stay 3-4 nights on Kassa gradually stretched into a full week!



Ps. Don’t forget to get your copy of Sihpromatum for only 99CENTS on Amazon or Kobo! Limited time offer ends Monday April 15th.


Wednesday, April 03, 2013

Ammon's Update

Ok, so I know a little more now than I did before and things are finally starting to take some shape. 
First off I have to say that we didn't get selected for the Amazing Race.  Not really a big surprise there and all of my energy and prayers were going toward air traffic control anyway.  I can't have everything can I?
In the end I got called into Nav Canada for the 2nd interview in the application which was done on site at the area control center in Surrey.  It's only a few years old and really state-of-the-art.  I got a long tour after the long interview there and it took them a month to get back to me with the results.  I am very happy to announce that I've passed that interview too and have been accepted. 
Well, at least in principle.  It was the last part of the active application and I've now been internally ranked with the other candidates and put in a pool to wait for courses to start which are filled based on ranking.  I have no idea where I stand or which atc stream they want me for but at some point they'll call me to make a training offer.  So it looks like I'll get my shot and have to "settle down" relatively soon.  Don't be thinking my travelling days are over though, they'll just have to change style and form a little. 
I'm constantly reminded of how everything is relative in life.  Relative not just between people but relative within ourselves at different stages in life.  Everyone knows the feeling whether they spend time reflecting on it or not.  You look back at your life and think you must've been crazy to do or like something.  This Easter weekend was beautiful and sunny and topped out at 15C.  Bre was suntanning in her yard in a bathing suit.  I was reminded then of how we all once thought we'd freeze to death and were wearing all our clothes in the mountains of pakistan.  It was sunny and beautiful and I was wearing all my clothes and had the blanket from my bed wrapped around me while playing cards.  It was 21C.....
I think it's important to remember this kind of relativity when we interact with and are tempted to judge others in our lives.  Every person is dynamic and changing with their environment including ourselves.  And it all makes sense at the time though we shake our heads at it later.  Tolerance is so important.  And we probably all deserve it...