Enjoyed visiting some friends for Eid. They live in a nice quiet village-type area about 40 minutes outside of the city. It was a lovely visit. We spent a good part of the day there and had lunch with them. Pasta with ground beef and carrots, a tomato salad with lots of lime and parsley, rice with chickpeas, a yogurty-carrot-cucumber salad, and then stewed lamb. I’ve eaten lamb a couple of times here. Each time it is really tough and chewy and has a almost gamey taste to it. But at this friends house it was the best lamb I’ve ever had. Nicely spiced and tender. Almost the texture of pulled pork. I had seconds. Which says a lot as I was vegetarian for a few years before I came to Africa and try still to avoid meat as best as I can here. We doted over our friends beautiful 3 month old girl. We chatted about the ants this year, weather, the arms factory that was bombed this week, what a creative God we have and how that shows his love for us. It’s nice to be able to share holidays and traditions with friends here.
Awhile ago we’d heard about a private beach on the Nile about and hour outside of the city. You pay a fee and get to swim in an actual bathing suit and spend a day at the beach without drawing a crowd of onlookers. So on Sunday two friends and I headed out. We had no trouble at any of the checkpoints and found it relatively easily to find and get there. (Landmarks involved a burnt bus, among other things.) There were a couple of other families there and we enjoyed a quiet, sunny day at the beach. I got to swim in the Nile for the first time without pants and a long-sleeve shirt on. We picnicked, kayaked, played cards, chatted, dozed, played with a puppy, and pulled some plastic chairs into the river and sat and read. It was a delight. Perhaps one of the highlights of the day, though, was on our way back. On the way there at one intersection we had seen a dog standing on top of some old car flying down the road. At the same intersection was a traffic officer who, as we drove by, we quickly asked if we were on the right road headed to jabal al-wiyya. He smiled and broadly gestured and loudly told us “Straight ahead!” On the way back at the same intersection, some 6 or 7 hours later, is the same traffic cop. As we drive past he smiles and happily says “Jabal al-wiyya!” We burst into giggles and then saw the same car surfing dog again! Talk about deja vous. It was crazy.
It was a lovely weekend, nice to have two days off of school and the routine. Back to it tomorrow! I was feeling like I could use a bit of a breather, and now I feel energized to, hopefully, make it through the next push until Christmas!