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Saturday, March 13, 2010

Orange Juice

Hello to you all! I'm sorry that I've been so MIA these past few months. I arrived back in Kenya mid January and while still getting over jet lag, hopped on another plane to travel to North Africa. I spent the entire month of February in North Africa doing freelance design and photography. I was nervous about this trip: the length of the trip, traveling alone, and a culture I was unfamiliar with. I think the fact that I was still jet lagged helped with my culture shock however... I was too out of it to really think much, I had to jump in head first and soak it all up.

North Africa is predominately Muslim. Islam is everywhere, again, something I was unfamiliar with. My first morning I woke up in North Africa was to the call of prayer, a constant reminder of the area I was living in for a month. This call to prayer happens 5 times a day and in the city I lived in, they seemed to have the speakers from the Mosque turned on high! I enjoyed being apart of this culture for a month.

I love experiencing new things, new sights, new smells, new tastes, new adventures! Ok, I take one of those back... the smell factor. Wow... there were some smells that I am ok never smelling again.

Because my trip was so long, I'd like to break up my blog posts in different stories and photos of the adventures I had up North. The first was something that happened on day 2 of my trip.Two of my co-workers joined me on my trip for two weeks of the month I lived in North Africa. We wanted to jump into this culture head first, no fear. So, our first day on the job we decided to go to a street cafe and grab some local breakfast. Our breakfast included a flaky tortilla covered in butter and honey, cafe au lait, and freshly squeezed orange juice. The interesting thing about these street cafes is that they don't have their own kitchen but rather have a runner who runs to different venders to grab the tortilla, cafe au lait, and orange juice.

After our runner sat our breakfast in front of us, I descretely inspected my food rather than throw it in my mouth blindly. Tortilla and the cafe au lait was fine and free of anything forgein but my orange juice was another story. I sat there, bug-eyed, swallowing hard as I pondered what to do about the two eyelashes that were mocking me and my adventurous spirit by floating at the top of my orange juice. I didn't say anything to my co-works about the eye lashes and tried to think if I should just scoop them out or ask for a new orange juice, but then I remembered that the orange juice would come from the same place. I pictured a man sitting there squeezing out a new glass of fresh orange juice as he's rubbing his sleepy morning thanks.

I don't know if I've ever mentioned this before, but all my co-workers are men. I often find myself trying to be more adventurous and less girly around them so I don't get identified as high maintenance or the weak link...kinda like the time we had to hike 10 miles in the mountains of Sudan and all. So, while all this was going on in my head, I peacefully continued eating breakfast and drinking my coffee. Finally I decided that I would scoop out the eyelashes and not think about it and just drink it. Trying to be descrete, I slipped my spoon into the top of my orange juice and started fishing. The man who ran around to get our breakfast saw what I was doing and unfortunately misinterpreted my actions. He thought I was trying to unsuccessfully stir my orange juice that had seperated since I took forever to drink it. Before I could even get one eyelash out our my glass, he runs over to my table, grabs the spoon out of my hand, plunges it straigt into my glass and starts stirring as hard as he could while smiling at me and saying in broken english, "fresh orange juice stay not mixed good, drink fast now." Perfect. What a sweet man. I tried not to think about the man who made my orange juice and what he looked like (or what his eyes looked like) and I knew for the rest of the month whenever I walked past an orange juice stand, I would try not to make eye contact with anyone squeezing orange juice. And with that...bottoms up, I drank it all as quickly as I could like a horrible tasting medicine. I figured as long as I'm not thinking about what I'm doing, my gag reflexes wouldn't set in. I eventually told my coworkers a week later what had happened and one of them did remember the guy stirring my juice and then using my spoon in their juice. Lets just say for the rest of my time in North Africa, I avoided orange juice!


tim hoiland said...

this story is awesome. i want some orange juice now::

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