Saturday, October 30, 2004

'tis the Season

I woke up late today and decided to walk to the city centre. Walking past a pet shop (well, more of a livestock feed shop) we saw crowds of men grilling meat on the pavement and inviting selected passers-by to join in. Ok, people are into grilling meat on the pavement here, but what was the occasion?

Further down we saw even bigger crowds of men, again, outside a gun shop. Munching on grilled meat. There was also a raffle and, at the very moment we were walking by, the lucky winners of air rifles were being announced.

Then it dawned on us: the beginning of the hunting season.


Friday, October 29, 2004

It never rains (but it pours)

Hello and apologies for the corniness (but utter suitability, at the same time) of the title.

Yesterday it was low clouds, today it was a massive downpour alternating with hailstorms. Hailstones withered the trees from their leaves, with these sticking on cars parked below. So, today cars have been going around studded with leaves held fast by moisture and fine mud (recall, this is a dusty place, was until yesterday, anyway).

We went to the Outpost's Big Resort yesterday, under the cloud and with humidity riding high. The place was sparsely populated with the last British holidaymakers of the season, obstinately clad in bikinis, speedos and shorts. They are on holiday, they will not dress up. Fair enough. The Big Resort's an endless eyesore, but in the summer this is aleviated by three factors:
a) you are rushing to the beach in order to get into the water before heatstroke gets you;
b) beautiful bodies punctuate the landscape;
c) the mediterranean light kills most of the shapes, colours and patterns around you, except the sea (and the aforementioned bodies: most of them blaringly white).

Under the cloud, it was a different story altogether:

And that's the nice view: I must not be overly critical.

We're off to bowl tonight. Having missed gym, this is going to be my essential exercise for today.

Thursday, October 28, 2004

De Lillo's America

Before going to bed (it is 2:15 am here and I have been up since 6:30 am), a piece of advice: do read Don DeLillo's Underworld. If you are a rabid anti-Americanist (an easy thing to be, but just too easy), it will make you think twice (or revert to trashy journalism -- c'est la vie); if you are American, you'll love it (lotsa baseball stuff in it); if you are pro-American, you need therapy, probably.

The Caretaker's Party


I did go to the Caretaker's party. Because the weather was sweet and cloudless it was a garden party (refer to shaken picture below).

Because we were late, the Caretaker had already withdrawn in his office to ponder over the affairs of the Outpost. The Palace was impressively weird: it stands in the middle of large grounds (although not larger than those of the English School, opposite to it, where we eventually parked) and features a prismatic tower capped by a hemispheric domelet, the whole thing looking like a pretext hiding a Sir Hugo Drax missile. Above the main entrance there is a huge coat of arms carved in stone. Whose coat of arms? Well, the Evil Empire's, obviously (you are confused now, aren't you?). The garden is cute and colonial, featuring: a pool, a green and a victorian folly-type pseudo-ruin.

No, this is not fiction; I live it.

The food was preposterous. Even worse than that offered at my compatridos' embassy parties. It probably gave Jod mild food poisoning, too. The gastronomic side of the party actually made me miss my UCL graduation ceremony buffet. So, there.

Now, the Palace contains a model of itself after my compatridos and local outposter traitors bombed it, in the totemic year of 19... So, yes, the Palace actually contains a model of itself. Titillatingly platonic, huh? And yes, people: the word for those who did that is 'traitors'. Although I know one of them and he is a good and honest man: he meant well. Misled. Misguided. Miscalculating. But a traitor. I stop here awed by human nature and its complexity. No joking.


What else? Oh, yes. I sat at the Cabinet table!!!! Wow. I looked very trustworthy sitting there. Hehe. But no photos of this, otherwise my face will be revealed.

Yes, I am immune to (mild) food poisoning. It also rained today. After a month or so. This is how people end up as pagans.

PS: Mi amigo Don Dolano de Santa Cruz, veramente, the pics are mine unless otherwise stated. Got the Shutterbug, too ;-)

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Thirsty tree

Those of you not from here, in case you believe that quasi-eternal summer, like the one we are still getting here, along with its ensuing dryness, dust and heat, is great, ask the poor tree below.


Monday, October 25, 2004

Banging someone else's drums

Throughout the last week I could hear the faint thumping of drums beating marches in the air whenever I would pass outside schools. Why? Schoolchildren are to march for the National Holiday parade. They will march to the sound of drums. Does this sound sinister? Not if you are American and you worship flags by reciting incantational allegiances to it. But everybody else can see how militaristic and regimental this is (there is a more accurate term for it but, hey, I live here and my compatridos are no better in this respect, either). Why get schoolchildren to march? Is the idea that they are the last line of defence? Are they to be called to hurl coke bottles at colonial masters once more, if the time comes? Probably. Why at the sound of drums? So that no irregularities in their formations ensue? Here is something to dwell on. And this is how things work in the Outpost...

By the way, we are not sure we are going to the Caretaker's party anymore.


A blog is a funny thing. Basically because of its introvercy and self-referentiality. It doesn't have to be boring, too. Which this one will, if it continues like that. So, I will add (non-revealing) pictures and more fact-rich stuff in the very near future. Watch this space.

Late night thoughts

Having started the blog -- yes, I admit it: inspired by Belle de Jour, although in a marginally different line of business -- I started wondering who I was going to tell. To save you the suspense, I think it is too early to tell my friends, hence to reveal. Nevertheless, I am still true to the title of this blog: I have concealed nothing, either: 'It's all on the Web.'

I would now like to give you a looooong and detailed description of the Outpost. But no, this would be boring. I guess bits and pieces are going to be surfacing as this thing develops, over time.

To begin with: suppose you are having a discussion with an Outposter. Let's call her A. The other discussant is me. Let's call me B. We disagree on something (this is very easy either if you know me or Outposters, or both). A makes a case for X. B replies to X by means of Y. A pauses; she repeats X. B presents a second rejoinder to X. A is very angry now and tells B he is not familiar with Outpost realities. End of discussion, case closed: time for dessert.

Sunday, October 24, 2004

What I learned this week

I came back from London last Saturday. It was great to read, talk and see friends (representatives of these species are sparse here at the Outpost -- also known as the Principality). London always makes me feel at home. I only get that feeling in London, the great Kingdom of the Netherlands and my Home City. London also made me feel creative and alert for a while, while I stayed there.

This was all gone shortly after I landed at the Outpost International Airport. Hence I started a blog tonight. But you know all that already.

Jod and me are invited to a party at the Outpost Palace on Tuesday by the Caretaker himself. This is because someone put our name next to the local Olympic volunteers'. Which is fair, given that we live in the Outpost. Anyway, I would not go see the Caretaker, but curiosity got the best of me: I want to actually see the inside of the place bombed Pinochet-style long long time ago by my compatridos. Har har.

A second series containing Turkish dialogue! Turkey is fashionable. 'Niobe's Children', ultimately by the same guy who wrote the Pantheons (this used to be a mag, innit?), the Guardians and many other families with long histories requiring pages upon pages upon pages to recount. The series is set in 1917-1923. Greeks and Turks love each other in Smyrna (and elsewhere) but I do not think this extends to mutual carnal Knowledge. No. Not really. This cannot be. Not in this series: it is already the topic of the first series containing Turkish dialogue. Then Greece joins the Entente. Turks get incensed. They kill some Greeks. Then Greeks think it would be feasible to reach Ankara (not by train, probably equally demanding a task). Then Turks kill more Greeks. The rest are refugeed. The end.


I am too young not to be interested in creating a blog and too old to expect to be carried away by regularly writing in one (this also applies to humble pen-and-paper diaries). Having had this discussion with Jod earlier today, I finally decided to give it a try.

I will come back to this space later. It is not that I haven't got too much to write (elsewhere, that is) already.