Thursday, April 10, 2008


I'm sitting in a small backwater village. I spend most of the day sheltering from the midday sun - it seems that this close to the equator, the sun stays for an annoyingly long time right overhead. Not like in northerly parts like Britain, where it seems to spend most of the year low in the sky. Here it leaps out of the palm trees like an excessively perky summer camp leader, and is high in the sky by 9am. Then (probably on account of all that early exertion) it loses momentum, and drifts lazily overhead for most of the day. Then in the late afternoon it regains its energy, making a dive for the horizon around 5. By 6:30 it's practically dark.

There's not much to do here but relax, eat (being fed four times a day on unlimited banana fritters, vegetable curries, cauliflower bhajis and tea & biscuits I'm sure I've regained any weight I lost while I was sick - and then some!) and drink the "twice-filtered rainwater - better than mineral water".

At least I'm doing a lot of writing - I've caught up on my journal, which is good because it relieves the pressure I put on myself to take amazing photographs. The scenery here, though very pleasant, is not really spectacular, consisting basically of the same thing repeated over and over, like the rolling scenery in a cartoon car chase: palm trees, church, washerwoman, bridge, palm trees, church, washerwoman, bridge, clone-stamped into the distance. In fact, when we were trying to establish whether Eedo and Yafit's canoe outing had taken the same route as the one Saira, Julie and I had taken the day before, it was hard finding any distinguishing landmark - the further we went, the more we realised the same could apply to any stretch of waterway in the area: Under the bridge, the one near the church, by the rice fields, where there's a canoe tied... past the group of kids, where the river weeds grow - you know, with the water, and the palm trees... yep, that's the one.


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