Friday, December 5, 2008

Week 18: Party Season

Nov 29 – Dec 5 08

Saturday was a typical quiet & lazy day with the exception that we were going to the St Andrews Ball for the evening. Apparently it is the only real ball that expats go to in Angola, and we very nearly missed out on tickets – it was only because a couple of people had bought some & then made alternate plans that we were able to buy the tickets off them. Dinner was included in the US$100 price & we’d checked to make sure that there would be vegetarian food. So we got dressed up (Bill opting for Malaysian silk shirt rather than a shirt and tie – we loved Malaysia for the fact that local batik is considered formal wear, equivalent to tails & tux, so we thought we’d stick with the concept). There was a bus leaving school at 7pm for a 7:30 start. The ball was in a hotel in a compound not too far from school, so it seemed an appropriate time. We drove to Jo & Marek’s place to pick them up as well – making a total of 4 couples & Maggie who was going by herself. However, the driver couldn’t seem to find the compound we were headed for & we drove around in circles & down dead alleys before heading half way into the city to take a u-turn to put us on the right road. The whole area where the ball was being held is currently (for ages) under road construction & the problem seemed to be that it was on a one-way road headed back to school & therefore very difficult to get to from school, despite the fact that we pass it every time we come home from the city. So it took us over an hour before we finally arrived & then we still had to get past the security check.

However, once we arrived, we found our table & proceeded to relax. There was no dance music when we arrived & when it started it was Scottish country dancing (I guess we shouldn’t have been surprised – it was the St Andrew’s ball after all). The first dance was the “Gay Gordon” & we bravely tried to copy what the couple in front of us were doing – but we were hopeless & ended up giving up & watching from the side. The next few dances were even more complex, although it was fun to watch. There was some “disco music” but they had got a year 11 boy to act as the DJ & he really didn’t have a clue about what sort of music to play. Bill & I managed to have a few dances, but really, it wasn’t great. Dinner was very good though & we danced a bit more afterwards. It was a fun night & well worth the money. We plan to go again next year, but vowed to make sure that we have lessons in the dances first!

Sunday, I had to write primary reports – it took me all day. However, it was very nice to get them all out of the way. Bill had a great day playing guitar & reading!
The week was tiring – it is funny how towards the end of term, everyone gets more & more tired & tempers start to fray. Everyone is counting down to the last day next week.

The week ended with a high spot although, Friday night was the school Christmas party. We’d been asked weeks earlier for our preference for vegetarian food, so we knew there would be a good meal to eat. It was quite a formal evening – everybody dressed up – especially the local staff. There was DJ here as well – we were blasted with what sounded like Angolan trance music from within 50 meters of the cafeteria. But, after everyone had eaten (a veritable feast that included whole crabs for the brave), people got up on the dance floor & danced - & danced well. The locals were fantastic dancers & keen to dance. It was very interesting – the Angolan men were dancing with their wives & girlfriends & almost all the western guys were outside pretending not to know their wives and girlfriends who were inside dancing as well. Bill was one of the notable exceptions – we danced quite a lot, but the effects of 17hard weeks caught up on us & we were ready to go home by 8:30!

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