Tag Archives: night out

A brief taste…

 

Our social life is rather sparse; we work, we visit the beach, we whirl through the mall and sometimes we branch out and see people. Occasionally we try and go out after dark, just to feel the pulse of life outside our home. Bahrain comes alive at night and is transformed into a different place.

Last night we traded in the DVDs and books, slouchy post work clothes and comfy sofa for a rather more glamourous option. It was the gala dinner to celebrate the end of French Week here in Bahrain and since Handsome works for one of the corporate sponsors we were invited to attend. It was a chance for the gowns to come out, the hair to be coiffed and the heels sharpened. Jewels were polished and hung with care, nails were lacquered and glossy. I only found out I was going about two hours before the event so little time was spent on sprucing, but a frock was donned and hair was brushed. It was fun to go zooming down the highway to be wined and dined at one of Bahrain’s top hotels and to talk to people we had never met before. There were opera singers flown in to provide entertainment and one of the top Sheiks made a brief appearance before being whisked away, entourage and all to another event. Pomp and ceremony was provided by the Royal Regiment’s band and no one acted as if it was the corporate hoo-ha it really was. Photographers ran about snapping pics for the society pages, a few were even snapped of us. I believe it was because Handsome’s red tie matched my dress. Champagne was drunk.

By 11 pm, with the dark knowledge that I was to wake up at 5.30 am, we had to leave. And dessert had not even been served.

 

Quite different from my night in the Best American Bar in the Middle East, I’d say.

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Blue Sambuca and Brown Croupiers.

After an evening spent watching Trooper performing in her school play we dispatched her to a sleepover and headed out for some drinks at the most popular Irish watering hole in the city. It is not a place I like, but it is one of the only places to go as there is a dearth of bars in this town. At about 11.30 pm when I was having visions of my bed, it was suggested that a trip to the Casino was in store.  Now, I don’t like casinos and I don’t like gambling. I find the whole concept of putting money on the table, only to lose it minutes or even mere seconds later, quite frightening. I like to hold tight to my money and save it all up for holidays in Lamu or shoe shops.  Still, I was out numbered and not wanting to be a sour puss, I am never sour and certainly no puss; I followed along.

Entering the casino felt as I imagined a morgue to feel. Albeit one decorated in the style of an Egyptian pyramid. So maybe an ancient Egyptian morgue. It was ice cold both in temperature and mood; the room was brightly lit with a bar against one wall serving free drinks ( as they should since they were taking all our money anyway); large tables with bored looking people took up the remainder of the room. A team of all female croupiers dressed in brown costumes looked bored but competent as they cut cards and dealt. There was one other smaller room where a high stakes Poker game was underway. I hid in the larger room.

This was only the third casino of my life. The first was a large, brightly lit and bustling place, Vegas style, in the heart of Lisbon. We went there as a drunken group during a wedding weekend. I have few memories of the event as I was far too tipsy to count my money let alone intentionally lose it.

The second was a sad and dismal second floor casino in Winnipeg in the middle of winter, mid week. There was nothing glamorous about it. I remember the people all looked grey, bored and rather grubby as if they had been there too long and were starting to blend in with the dreary furniture. We lost $60 and it broke my heart. I swore I would never go again, especially as those days I had to teach three sets of ballet lessons to 5 year olds to earn that princely sum.

Yet here I was entering the casino for the third time. Handsome husband likes the black jack and knows how so I just sat and watched aghast as time and time again that nasty lady in the brown pants suit got closer to 21 than us. How could she repeatedly win? Why was she so lucky?  In the end I walked away and tucked back a few free shots of Sambuca. It was blue and tasted of terrible cough mixture.

There was a man who kept throwing chips at the roulette table and the brown clad woman just kept taking them away. Despite the fact that it was far from crowded I was shocked that so many Ugandans had that much wealth to throw away. We were the only white people there, I had expected a larger expat contingent.

The saddest thing about the whole event was not losing money ( we ended up $100 ahead thanks to HH’s luck), it was was the depressing mood of the place. Everyone just looked so bored. It wasn’t even fun, it was all rather desperate and lonely.

I am not going back. My thrills lie elsewhere, not sure where yet, but elsewhere.

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Filed under I miss shopping., Kampala

Dance Adonis, Dance.

3limes is feeling like it time to shake those blue cobwebs off the shoulders and look around with new and fresh eyes. Yes, a dark cloud has been wafting about these past few weeks but there is nothing like a night out to see some fabulous dance to remind us how lucky we are to live in a country where it is not easy to be an artist and those that create are both brave and in need of some celebration.

Last night a small group of us headed to the National Theatre to see a performance of Keiga Dance Company with music by Joel Sebunjo.

There were 7 dancers, three musicians and one technician.  We were told during the introduction that we were about to see a showcase of modern contemporary Ugandan dance that unlike most dance, would specifically stay away from telling a story. However, what I liked most about the dance was that, in snippets, a story was being told and using gestures that we all use daily, only this time they were presented in an exaggerated and poetic manner with the body instead of words or expressions. At one point each dancer looked a member of the audience straight in the eyes and pointed between his eyes and ours as if to say, I am the one watching you, not the other way around.

The musicians played both with their voices and traditional instruments but the symbiosis between the live musicians and the dancers was like a taunt cord seamlessly strung between the two.

It cannot be easy to be a dancer here. There are no opportunities to go to dance school, nor is dancing considered a worthwhile profession is a country where it is imperative to work to feed perhaps your entire family, in addition to yourself. I sat spellbound throughout the performance and thought to myself how powerful the pull to create really is, no matter the place or circumstance of one’s birth. What ever changes in this crazy world of ours, art and creation will live on, no matter the pull or bias from society or family. The will to dance was there for these 7 dancers and I applaud them for their skill, passion, creativity and perseverance. This dance troop could happily find themselves on a stage anywhere in the West holding their own against other homegrown dancers.

I love to watch dance, often, more so than theatre ( which considering my education and training to be a drama teacher might seem strange. ) Dance has to power to express without words and that challenge, when it works is enough to move any heart.

It must be said that, as an added bonus, I appreciated some eye candy for the first time since arriving here in Uganda. Initially, in the first of 7 pieces I sat and regretted the baggy t-shirt attire of choice. Then when the dancers appeared bearing rippled chests I could sit back and appreciate what the human form can really do. A black dancer is the closest one can get to a living Adonis.

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A Thursday night in Kampala

It is never a very good idea to go out on a Thursday evening. Especially if you are a light weight who can barely handle 2 glasses of wine, needs a good 7 or 8 hours of sleep and all faculties intact to teach the younger masses in the morning. Yet, having said all that, I did go out last night, to three different places, mind you, and have the bleary eyes, slight headache and stories to prove it.

First stop: an art exhibition at the Alliance Francaise. This was a highly cultural affair, with women dressed in interesting jewelry standing next to tall African men, hands on chins looking at paintings of elephants while sipping mulled wine and munching politely on small cubes of fruit cake. Mellow, Buddha Bar type music played in the background and lots of people smoked and spoke French. It was a place of artists, pretty people and those culturally inclined. I wanted to buy a small wooden elephant, splattered with colourful paint but it was already sold.

Next stop: a Korean restaurant large enough to host a royal wedding, with a menu that came in two books, heavy enough to squash a cockroach. We started at a table down stairs in a vacuous room that left me feeling I was alone in the wrong place and once our warm white wine arrived we moved to a private room where we tucked our feet down into the sunken floor and hoped that no rash creatures would crawl upon us. There was something decidingly seedy about the place, from the stained table cloths to the items on the menu that included fried gizzards and offal cooked with edible fungus. I opted for the bean curd soup but it proved inedible.  The waiter had a terribly hard time opening the wine. At one point he needed to use a bottle opener with a wrench attached on top to turn the stubborn screw around.  The four of us sat around the table, with our legs stretched into nether land, and laughed through two bottles of delicious but warm wine and spicy but terrible food.

Final Stop: a local bar, known widely as a place where lonely single people might find some company. Perhaps that is not fair. It is a popular watering hole, but on the side it is also what I like to refer to as a meat market. After watching the overweight, crumpled white guys dance and buy drinks for the pretty but professional black women; I thanked all my stars that I am happily married. Kampala is not an easy place to be single and last night was definitely the night for ugly white guys to go out and peruse the pros. The sight of prostitutes openly working a room is a new and alarming sight for me. This is something that I have never encountered before, especially since in most countries this phenomenon exists is a more clandestine form.

Bed: I remember crashing onto my bed somewhere around midnight.  Morning came far too quickly and I have been munching on dried Mangos to restore some semblance of alertness.

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Filed under personal, Uganda