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Hello. I'm Sean and I live in Japan. I'm glad you've come because I need you to do something for me.

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Saturday, February 19, 2011

that's the boy... that's the kid...

I'll start this post with a long overdue acknowledgment. Hello, good day and how are you to every single person that works behind the front doors of Jones Feed Mills. Yes Lori, I do check comments!

I apologize for not sending any individually addressed emails - but it's not my fault! You see, I realized soon after I started this trip that I had relied a little too heavily on the address book Dave has compitently compiled into Outlook - and thus never really took the time to learn all of them. I'm pretty confident that they are all as basic as name@jfm, but I didn't feel like taking the time to guess a hundred combinations and play the odds that most people were hit. I know you guys talk, and I know feelings would be hurt if names were missed. No tears shall be spilt on my account.

This said, I would like to reiterate again how much I enjoyed working with all of you - and for the life of me can not comprehend how that place operates in my absence. It was because of the wonderful time spent with all of you that I am able to fund my time abroad. For those of you who read this, please take a page out of Lori's book and drop a comment, along with your email and I will send you something more personal. Anyone can comment - even you.

Shout out aside, I had a epiphany last week - want to hear it? To set the scene, I should explain that I have developed a new haunt in Kisoro. A couple weeks back a new cafe opened just around the corner from the Golden Monkey hostel, right next to the craft shop run by the German lady, Val (I think I've mentioned her in a previous post). Unsuprisingly, the cafe is run by the same woman, and operates in an organized and exact way that is alien to these parts. Furthermore, the lady who operates as the waitress is an expat of Canada and pretty much awesome to talk with - amazingly friendly and cheery.

For all these reasons, and the fact that you can get food in less than two hours, this restaurant provides a little bubble of normalcy in the otherwise foreign and chaotic atmosphere of East Africa. It was while I was there last Thursday morning, drinking filtered coffee (instead of tinned!) and being stared at like a fish in a bowl by passerbys (really driving home the bubble feel) that I realized that I like it here. I like Africa.

This may not seem like much of an epiphany, so I will explain. Over my first month here, there has always been this itch in the back of my mind that something wasn't quite right - something I couldn't put my finger on. Although it didn't really impede my ability to function, it did provide me with some reservation and even hestiation that I would define as uncharacteristic. It left me feeling at odds with the continent.

Yet, for some reason, having this place that was almost a teleporter to a different world, allowed perspective. I realized that I like the organized chaos, the loosely based time schedule and the muzungu status that dogs a traveler like me through Africa. The only thing that I am unable to place is whether the creation of an escape gave me the chance to truly value what I had, or the allowance of a respite emboldened me to truly embrace the culture knowing that I had a temporary out close at hand to use.

Regardless of the answer, the shift in attitude could not have come at a better time. With the start of some true backpacking about to begin, a slightly cocky swagger to the ways of Africa is a blessing. It does, however, mean that I am about to throw away all the stability and routine that I have managed to build. I will honestly say that I am quite excited to become a little more transitory. Classic backpacking holds such a romantic notion with me, that I am elated to truly hit the dusty, broken roads of Africa for the first time.

Who is Pudge you ask? Pudge is my sister
She tends to be annoying, much like a blister
But I wouldn´t trade her for the world

Pudge is a bit chunky, thick at the thighs
¨Don´t call me Pudge!¨ she idly cries
But I wouldn´t trade her for the world

When she moves she jiggles
And if you poke her she giggles
But I wouldn´t trade her for the world

However, maybe for a robot.

Jessica looks excited too!

It conincides with these sentiments that I had recently just started - and finished - reading the book, The Beach. I'm not sure why I had never read it before, but I can reckon that it was probably because I remember seeing the movie back when and finding myself less than inspired. That, however, was a different time, and the nuances and romance of the life of the traveler was lost on me. This go through though, it struck chords. The narration is first person, and done in a simple yet elegant way that niether demands nor insults. Reading The Beach is more like thinking through your own thoughts than taking the words off the paper. It touches and bounces on so many thoughts and sentiments that I can relate to - allowing it to add itself neatly to the list of my favourite books. The only bad thing about it is that it has me mumbling the words "that's the boy, that's the kid..." quietly to myself. Although I don't feel like writing any more of a book review, it has got me thinking, and I can appreciate anything that does that.

Lastly in the news department is the wildlife. I had made a joke to Jess about half a month ago that the forest, and its animals, operated much like a video game. The premise of the game is that seeing animals beats levels; every animal is a boss. This joke was timed after a stint in the woods where we had seen so little fauna for it to be laughable. The driving comment I made was that as soon as we saw Gorillas, the last boss, we'd unlock all content.

Not suprisingly then, in the last week and a bit since we trekked the jungle of Bwindi, some fun stuff has happened! Last week, first thing in the morning, Jess and I were making a usual walk to the monkeys, and were not at all suprised to see the regular signs of buffalo and elephants in the mud. We made our often ignored half joke / half pleas to follow the tracks, and again were not at all suprised to hear them rejected. Therefore, the suprise came not ten minutes later when we discovered that something had decided to stick around! We were close to entering the forest proper when we were stopped, and directed with pointing fingers to look to the other side of a dried up stream bed. Standing, large as life, just thirty feet away, was a full grown male forest elephant. It didn't stay too long, but I did manage a nice photo of it's butt. Joking aside, hell yes elephant!

Add on to that the fact I saw a bush buck today on the way to see the habituated golden monkey group, and you might think that the forest did in fact have some organized viewing sequence to it. I can just imagine the UWA walking ahead of me and kidnapping all the animals until I shelled out money for a Gorilla permit. What a sneaky and devious ploy.

The habituated group of golden monkeys was neat, but rather anti-climactic. It is hard to get really, really worked up to see something that I have been viewing for the past month and a half. It was neat to see them so close though, and more importantly frustrating that in the first ten minutes I had collected many more, and better photos than a month plus of efforts had produced.

Tonight is a goodbye party night, and will most likely be one big wreck. We all went to the marketed on Thursday and managed to assemble the ugliest ensembles we could find. The tour de force of my paticular number is a stunning black cardigan featuring Winnie the Pooh and Tigger holding hands. Best friends is neatly embroidered across the chest. I worry for the person who actually bought this from disney, but reckon it was perhaps that gift you might recieve from a strange and distant relative.

No other news to report, must go be ridiculous.

Thanks for reading,



  1. Haha! Elephant butt!

  2. Hey if you see another bush buck, call it a sitatunga for me k? I wanna see how mad it gets.
    Ps. started my own too. we'll see how she goes