We got our first shipment Friday - so nice to get our hangers, clothes, shoes, kitchen knives, laundry hamper... Which also meant Joey got relegated to another bedroom and bathroom because once more of our stuff arrived there was no longer room to share. Its actually really nice this way - he can leave his clothes all over the floor, leave the toilet seat up, do whatever he wants and I don't have to see it. I think all marriages should have separate closets and bathrooms.
Our steward asked for the boxes from our shipment. She said she knows somebody who does something with the packing paper and somebody else who uses the cardboard. It was dusk while we were moving the boxes from our house to hers, and hundreds of bats flew overhead. She explained that this nightly exodus occurs when they leave Aso Rock in search of food. Then she cautioned me to keep my mouth closed when I look up. I shuddered and she said, "Where I am from, we eat them. They taste like chicken." She told me they eat the whole bat - even the head and bones. Then she offered next time when she returns to her village to bring us a bat to eat. Joey was really excited about that, me, not so much. I saw her later "ricing a coconut," which is basically grating a coconut to the size of rice. I was surprised to see that she grated the entire coconut, even the brown shell, and she said, "Here in Nigeria we use everything." Their resourcefulness amazes me. Our culture seems so wasteful in comparison.
Saturday we joined a group of friends and headed on our first trip outside of Abuja. After the most insane two hours I have ever spent in the car, we arrived at Gurara Falls for a swim and a picnic. I saw some crazy things along the drive, like markets mere feet from the road, herds of emaciated white cattle, goats eating garbage, a dude riding a bike with a giant saucer of something balanced on his head - but I think the most shocking thing I saw was while we made a U-turn. A man standing in the median lifted his tunic, pulled down his pants, squatted close to the ground...and shit! Right there! In the middle of the road! I've heard stories of this happening all over the world and so I guess I shouldn't have been so surprised considering the lack of modern plumbing in rural Nigeria but still - wow. Anyway, the falls were really beautiful - although none of us could figure out from where the water originates. I watched a fisherman deftly maneuver the rocks to stand in the middle of the pool and fish. It was nice to get out of Abuja for a while, too, and see more of the Nigerian countryside.
Yesterday we booked the first part (its actually the second part but the its the first booking) of our R&R. We decided on the Celebrity cruise and officially depart Rome (so excited to go back to Italy) this July! Our cruise itinerary includes stops in Santorini, Athens, Istanbul, Kusadasi, Mykonos, and Capri. AH-MAY-ZING. Joey has already warned me that if I give him any shit about eating healthy on his "floating buffet" he will throw me overboard. All I know is that I gained 10 lbs on my last Celebrity cruise - and that was only a 7 day and I still had my high school metabolism - this is five days longer and I'm nine years older...
Last night we went to dinner and a movie with some friends of ours. Both of Abuja's shopping complexes (they call them malls) have movie theaters. The "mall" we went to was actually pretty nice - there we had a decent dinner (albeit expensive for Chinese) and even had red velvet cake for dessert (dessert is kind of a hot commodity around here - Joey's been jonesing for cake so he was really excited). Then we saw Due Date - the movies are all older releases but Joey and I were never the type to go see a movie the week it came out anyway so this works fine for us. The movie theater is totally modern - for two hours it really felt like we were back in Des Moines at Jordan Creek Mall.
Anyway, I took a ton of pictures this weekend - here's the link: