It's funny -- things are the same, but different. Children's TV is a good example: There's Takalani Sesame, where everything is so the same that you don't realize it's in another language for at least a minute (and which language it is is a bit of a mystery for me too -- it's simultaneously broadcast in four different ones, none of them English). All the characters, Elmo included, sound exactly the same, but Cookie Monster (presumably) lacks his traditional googly eyes. And following Takalani Sesame is a rap song sung by a trumpet-nosed alien that persuades that "Children have the right to health care and protection from abuse... Children have a right to a name and to be loved by both mother and father!" And so on.
Natalie might be hear to know that Swingtown lives on down here -- I just flipped past it on TV. Interesting depiction of American life. At this very moment, last summer's "All My Children", "The View", and a Mariah Carey rap video are on as well. Hm.
Anyway, the journey here was terrible. I had no idea, and I'm not sure why that is, that it was THAT LONG, and we were on the trashiest plane around. On the last leg of the flight from Dakar to Senegal, we were forced to watch Drillbit Taylor over and over, highly pixelated, for eight hours. It's not a good movie. My seat for 18 hours didn't lean back, and my iPod died halfway through with no way to recharge. I also paid $5 for a final tall vanilla latte from the Starbucks in JFK.
The stop in Senegal was interesting. As soon as you land, the plane promptly gets stormed by a troop of security guards, who proceed to tear the plane apart -- literally, tearing up the seat cushions, rifling through luggage sometimes, interrogating people about their belongings -- and then they're gone. We eventually take off again, and the flight attendants wander up and down the aisles, spraying pesticide everywhere like it's Frebreeze.
I arrived less than 24 hours ago, and already, everyone has been really nice. I live in a house with ten room mates, but as it happens, it is NOT the loft that I was told I'd be living in. I'm actually at 89 Station Street, which is a nice location. I use 3-4 keys to get from the front gate to my room, which is right off the living room; I've already been informed that I'm in the worst room in the house -- noise from the street and the living room and the kitchen, all at once (we live under a busy bridge). My roommates are, as it happens, mostly from University of Oregon, although I don't know any of them; I'm not sure how we all congregated here. There's also Rafa from Spain and a couple quiet South African guys, plus a few people I haven't met and one empty room next to mine (it'll be filled later this week probably).
Anyway, I'm going to go wander around Observatory for a bit, maybe pick up some stuff at the QwikSpar (a grocery store down the block). Avocados are ridiculously cheap, andeggs are unrefrigerated on the grocery shelves. Oliver introduced me to some tasty 8R steak pies. The food at the store isn't foreign to me, per se, but I don't know what to do with all of it... And I don't know how much I feel like cooking in such a shared kitchen. No mac and cheese? Only Kellogg's Corn Flakes and Cocoa Pops? I'm just not sure how to proceed.
There are a ton of homeless people around (bergies, as they're called by locals), but they're generally as harmless as they are numerous, just like in Eugene. I'm going to go wander Observatory for awhile before Oliver picks me up for orientation and whatnot... Maybe I'll go get some sushi -- it's very popular down here!
I already miss everyone (and hot showers, too)!