Tuesday

Review: The beach

We went to the beach on Sunday. Apparently, this is the whole point of expatriate life in Dar es Salaam: you may be slowly losing your soul, but at least you can go to the beach at the weekend. I went on a speedboat with yet another Israeli, who played screeching rock while the Russian sprawled in the sun, like something out of Heat magazine. I chatted to our captain’s 12-year-old niece, who looked at me in undisguised horror when I revealed that I’ve never been water-skiing. “You haven’t even been normal skiing?” she cried, disgusted. She’s the scion of a family that sell very nice chicken liver wraps in the mind-numbingly anodyne Sea Cliff hotel. The expat children here are old before their time, confident as CNN anchormen and slightly deranged by the constant coming and going of their friends and schoolmates, who are mostly diplobrats whose parents do something pointless for the UN. We sailed on, dragging the girl’s brother behind us in a rubber ring. The fishermen watched from the beach, ruminating over their plan to charge us a week’s pay for one grilled fish.

My fiancée tells me that in the film The Beach, a wandering crusty informs his stoned and sun-stunned companions that travel is all about “the quest to experience something visceral, something real”. I don’t know about visceral, but I came back with a pretty realistic tan. I’m now adorned with a ghost bikini – I was toying with the idea of getting a tattoo of a bird, inspired by the dragon tattoo that decorates the Russian’s pudenda, but this will do for now.

I want to say that it’s impossible to be miserable next to the sea, but of course this is an outright lie – a talented miserabilist can be miserable anywhere. Maybe it’s just that you can’t be quite as happy inland. Inland isn’t really designed for human existence: leave the elephants to do what they will with it. (“A sort of chessboard effect developed, with people occupying one set of squares and the elephants another… The ‘elephant problem’ was a major concern of colonial authorities throughout Africa.” – John Reader.)


The beach: A blockbusting geographical feature from the God that brought you mountains, ponds and icebergs. 9 out of 10.

22 Comments:

At 6:58 pm, Blogger Mr K said...

Hmm, Eskimo got spammed....

The beach is nice if you are not back in mouldy Britain, where for 99 out of 100 days the beach is a miserable place.

 
At 1:30 am, Blogger HA HA HA said...

er... ponds?

 
At 6:41 am, Anonymous eskimo said...

dont you have them in america? ponds, i mean. i didn't realise i was being so english. they have ponds here, too, with hippos in them. i don't know whether this is an improvement or not.

 
At 7:58 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hippos being of the animal kind and not the discusting fat bodies that bob around in the water looking like hippos.

 
At 10:59 pm, Anonymous nice guy suvi said...

this blog is wonderful. and i have it on good authority that the hostess is a fox! well, i don't really but thinking so makes the dull evenings worthwhile. i could kiss her, if the judge would release me from the restraining order.

 
At 1:51 am, Blogger Mr K said...

Hippos in a pond? Is this is a big pond? Are there fences in the way? And a guy with a big gun? And spikes? Cause then its cool.

Incidentally I've noticed you get to "choose an identity" at the bottom here. Awesome, its like I'm some kind of secret agent.

 
At 5:48 pm, Blogger HA HA HA said...

esk - oh yeah we have pnods. theyre just kinda prosaic is all nexta a montan or a iecbreg.

i wuld say if u ad a hipo to prety much anything its gona perk it up pretty good. so id call it a improvmant.

klier fcat! in nyc a 'slidign pond' is a slliding boared on a playgrond. its saposed to be form 'bahn'=='road' leftovar from the dutch who setald manhatan bafore u guys glommed it. but i didn mean that kidna podn.

 
At 5:59 pm, Anonymous Capt. Whoosh Horselaf said...

Ignore that dyslexic cunt. A "pond" in the United States is a carnivorous, parthenogenetic thrush which breeds underwater. In American English, small inland bodies of water are called "hoosiers" or "vortices", just as a "branch" is a small crick, or syncline. Furthermore, the Dutch were the original inhabitants of Holland, not of New York. The Bowery was indeed above water during part of the last Ice Age, but no polders are known to have migrated.

I hope I've clarified these issues.

 
At 6:00 pm, Anonymous ID said...

" the Russian's pudenda "
I didn't know they had them.
We were told that the ruskies had tails too!

 
At 2:16 pm, Anonymous Little Lehcar said...

Did I miss something? Who is your fiancee?
I wouldn't mind being on a beach or in a pond as long as it was hot and not raining and I hadn't spent all my wages in two days. (All of which are polar opposites to where I actually am).

 
At 2:19 pm, Anonymous Little Lehcar said...

Ah, I see. 'She' 'isn't really [your] fiancee'. That clears that up then.

 
At 3:30 pm, Anonymous eskimo said...

i AM a fox, and a glorious addition to any pond - almost as good as a hippo.

is this word verification thing too annoying? it seems it's a choice between this and adverts for online gambling, and as we all know it's a slippery slope to depravity once you've started on internet poker.

 
At 2:41 pm, Blogger Fancyclown said...

I feel quite uncomfortable on beaches, as an Englishman should. The orangey hue of those around me and their chiselled bodies makes me feel as if i should be inside buildings instead.

 
At 8:46 pm, Blogger Mr K said...

The only thing I don't get about word verification is why the word is sometimes so damn complicated... I mean cash machines seem to be quite happy to have 4 numbers, so why do I sometimes have to type in 13 letters?

I think word verification adds a little bit of flair to the commenting system, and perhaps there could be some kind of competition involving it. I'm not sure quite what yet. But it would be magnificent.

 
At 12:09 am, Anonymous This space for Rent said...

damn you internet poker. i just spent three hours to win 11 dollars. not efficient

 
At 6:00 am, Blogger boudica of suburbia said...

I've always wanted a hippo... but I'll settle for a dog

 
At 2:09 am, Anonymous mzungu said...

dude-


'The expat children here are old before their time, confident as CNN anchormen and slightly deranged by the constant coming and going of their friends and schoolmates, who are mostly diplobrats whose parents do something pointless for the UN. '

this is me and every kid i went to school with; nicley astute.

I just stumbled across your blog over here in Sydney, Australia. Full of familiar places and faces through a witty, synical window.

i'll think of some books to recommend, which further explore the elephant problem. I'll post them later.

meanwhile, regards from a fully fledged, nomadic expat kid, with memories of warm sand, indian oceans and dusty markets.

ps you'll get over the trainers, my brother traded his on our first day in Dar, and we met him later with bare feet and two tortoises. Kinondoni markets- stuff of legends.

 
At 6:19 pm, Anonymous Guild Wars Power Leveling said...

The beach: A blockbusting geographical feature from the God that brought you mountains, ponds and icebergs. 9 out of 10.
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