Thursday, January 11, 2007

Where in the World is Carmen San Diego?

For no reason other than my Nigerian friend Sam has piqued my curiosity (and to help me keep up with the goings on of Oprah, Madonna and Angelina!) I’ve decided to memorize all of the countries in Africa. It’s pretty embarrassing how few I know.

Here’s my first start. I’m listing every African country I can think off the top of my head.

South Africa
Ivory Coast
Malawi (thanks to Madonna)

Okay, that’s it. I don’t even know how many more countries there are in Africa, but I’m going to learn them all. If I was really feeling industrious, I would memorize their capital cities, as well.

My friend Gbadabo “Sam” Adouyeye is amazing in his knowledge of the United States, and the world in general, and here I am struggling to remember if Congo is still an African country or if it was overrun at some point and now has a different name.

Beth can get me laughing when we talk about one night in Austin when we went out years ago. There’s a whole prestory to this story, but it boils down to this: we had quite a bit to drink and we were having a good time. We decided to go to an Irish pub for a little while before calling it a night. I started talking to a man who introduced himself as Harrison. He was a nice looking, dignified, older black man, with a fabulous accent who was telling funny stories about being a professor. He said he was currently teaching African studies at UT. He was very nice and was trying to chat me up a little bit, which I was finding very amusing because of the wine coursing through my system.

I ask Harrison where he was from and he said Nairobi. And I remember my masters degree having response as clearly as if I just said it. I even added a little hiccup for that extra attractive drunken flare. “Nairobi? There’s no country in Africa called NAIROBI (but the way I said it sounded more like NIIIIIIII-ROBEEEE - good and slurry). You are just making that up!”. In a very polite, professorial, non-inebriated way, Harrison responded, “Miss Holliday, Nairobi is the capital of Kenya.”

“Ohhhhhhhh…..THAT Nairobi! Well, yes, sure….hiccup….”

Beth happened to be walking by during this exchange, and after I finished saying “well, yes, sure…”, she whispered to me as she passed, “Smooth….”.

I’m thinking the humor isn’t translating as well as I would like, but it was one of the more humiliating bleach blond moments of my life and I’m not surprised that Harrison politely excused himself from my company at that point.

I was living with Beth during this time and it was that same night – the night I decided to drink all of the wine in Austin, Texas - when I woke up the next morning still wearing my dress and shoes from the night before, laying there on top of the covers with a pounding headache listening to the neighbor loudly mow his lawn outside the window. I grabbed a tshirt to cover my eyes and stumbled out of the room grumbling to Beth who was in the living room reading the paper and drinking coffee “HOW CAN YOUR NEIGHBOR BE SO RUDE MOWING HIS LAWN THIS EARLY”, to which she replied, “Ah, Lori, it’s 12:30”.

“Ohhhhh….12:30….Well, yes, sure….hiccup…” Beth was evil and made me play doubles tennis that afternoon, too. Many, many moons passed before I took another drink but we laughed pretty hard about me accusing the kind African man of making up his place of origin.

But after memorizing the African countries I’ll be better prepared next time, and when I’m finished I think I’ll move over and do South America next!


  • At 1/11/2007 , Blogger Emig Family said...

    You know, that's a great idea to brush up on your geography! You've inspired me to do something like that. I'm going to do Asia. It's gotten all wonky since I last studied it.


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