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The Second 24 hours



Fitfully resting since 3 am, I wake for good at 5 AM. We’ve a ride coming at 6:30.  I am fatigued. I’m not in tears, but I can feel them close.  I wake up Z. She grunts. She slept better than I did. Says she misses her friends.


Downstairs I try and make some toast. I receive an electric shock from the seemingly new toaster.  I begin to worry.  How am I supposed to provide support to people when I can’t even toast a piece of bread.


Today, we both must go to the embassy to check in and do lots of paper work. It sounds like another scavenger hunt.  Z comes down for her non-toasted bread.  I can see some fear and sadness in her. But, without being told, she has dressed herself very professionally.  I compliment her.  She says, “Dad, I’m going to the American Embassy.  I have to present well.”  It is a much needed moment of parent pride.  


We catch our ride.  Our sponsor gives us some more info on things.  We arrive at the Embassy and a mermaid beckons to us in the lobby.  There is a Starbucks.  I break my own travel rule (Never shop where you can shop at home) and agree to a cup of coffee.  It is refreshingly familiar.


I need to go to a meeting on the one floor and Z is offered access to the internet on another floor.  She drools and twitches and stumbles on her way to the keyboard.


I’m to be introduced to the staff at the meeting, but before I can there is fire alarm and we all must evacuate.  I think of my daughter upstairs and sprint up to find her still sitting at the computer, sirens blaring, lights flashing


“Hey, we should evacuate.”  


“Okay, but I wasn’t done chatting.”  There may be claw marks on that keyboard.


Everything is okay, though. Someone was smoking in Starbucks.  We all go about our business.


Toward the end of the day we head to a Mall to get SIM cards and further plug back into the hive.  All malls have metal detectors at the entrances.  This is a rather false security though.  At work I was given a walkie talkie and some small boxes to take home for emergencies.  It is all bundled up in bag with the antennae sticking out.  Despite my concerns that it looks like an explosive device, we waltz through without a problem.


We achieve success in getting SIM cards and getting a new toaster.  There is more clarity in Z’s eyes now.  Her thumbs move instinctively while she walks.


We are finding more and more familiar items.  Bacon, and pork it seems, is not that hard to come by.  I know I keep mentioning bacon. I don’t actually eat that much of it, but I read that it would be hard to get.  Alcohol, too, I was told is not really common, but maybe that is only in outlying areas.  Here in the city, it’s in every store.  Along with Dunkin Donuts and KFC.  Heck, KFC sent me my first Indo text message.  There’s a delicious deal right now.  I can even order a bucket by text.


We make it home before sunset. On the equator the sun sets about the same time year round.  I head for the pool to cool off and unwind.  The din of traffic gradually quiets and the Muslim call to evening prayer commences.  We must live in the area of several mosques, for the song comes over loudspeakers from all directions.  It is quite nice to listen to, except for the guy to the west.  He’s a little flat.

I float on my back, the songs, the birds, the setting sun.  This could be okay.

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