Day 29: April 30 2014
Andre had secured an 8 a.m. flight for himself and me, so we could be back in Seronera prior to his afternoon meetings. After we had checked in through security, which took all of five seconds, I stumbled upon a sign that had a few magic words inscribed onto it:
“WANT!!! NOW!” I announced. The guys laughed at me. “Omigosh, somebody spot me some cash now before I explode from this withdrawal!” Andre graciously stepped up and plied me with my fix of legal stimulant. No sooner than when the first sip entered my system did my hibernating gray matter awaken from a week of sluggish activity. The grass was greener, the crows more melodious and the sky was once again as blue as it was at the Four Seasons, where I was running on two large mocha lattes a day. Recognize an addict when you see one. It’s one of the few consumer choices I miss about my life in the Big Apple, my cap breve! I also miss my bagel with scallion creme cheese, Thailand Cafe’s Chive dumplings, Dos Torres, and Francois Payard’s desserts. Apart from those superficial cravings, the Serengeti is pretty much everything I’ve been looking for in my life! Even Rob conceded, “You’ve really taken to life here in Sero… surprisingly well actually!” It is true, I never thought this could work for me, but East Africa suits me pretty darn well! Sure a bug tries to start a family with you every now and again, but can you blame the bug for seeking such a partnership, it isn’t easy being a single parent in the bush!
As Andre turned to me with happiness in a cup, Taio, our driver in Arusha pointed out a cardboard box and smiled at me, “Look we got your supplies for you, you can get to work as soon as you arrive in Seronera!” “Are those my paints?” I screamed enthusiastically, “Andre, look we got my paints here already!” Andre, laughing at the decibel I was able to reach on information that was meant to be kept secret from airport authorities, pulled me aside and sternly asked me to “shushhhh!” “What?” I wondered. “They don’t know, don’t blow our plan! If they know they won’t let us stow it in cargo!”"oohhh my bad, Roger that, I’ll be super casual about this mission.” And then I began quoting King Julien from Madagascar, except Andre had stopped paying attention to me by such time, “Shh” “Who’s making that noise?” “Oh it’s just me again!”
It wasn’t a direct flight, we had to stop over at Manayara for a few moments, but an hour later we were back in our Serengeti haven with our cartons filled with liters of paint, groceries and all our carry on pieces. We had a car waiting for us, which briskly whisked us over to FZS. Upon arriving, we began unloading the car, this is when Andre discovered a massive pool of yellow collecting on his Land Rover’s carpet. He turned to me and remarked, “I think that the paint has begun to leak, you might need to open up this box and check.” What I should have said was: “It’s pretty obvious, see the bottom right corner is completely yellow, and it’s now oozing onto your hands.” However I just responded: “Aye Aye sir, just need some boxcutters!” thinking that Andre probably knew his hands were now caked in radioactively luminous, yellow pigment. I walked into the office to ask around for a knife or pair of scissors to open the box with, by the time I rejoined Andre, he had yellow down the length of his pants, on his backpack, chin, arms and tee-shirt. Andre was looking a little jaundiced, not unlike the evil henchman from Sin City, but how had he managed to spread the yellow around like a zombie virus in the five minutes I’d left him alone? To understand how this could have transpired, you need to see Andre in action. When a little smudge of dirt gets on his hands he has the tendency to bathe himself with it. He was, as usual, oblivious of the fact that he had managed to marinate his frame in a primary hue, in the few minutes he had been left to his own devices. He had however, caught onto the stain on his backpack. He came marching in, “Omigod what do I do about my back pack?” Felix chimed in, “What are you going to do about the rest of you?” And I began humming Cold Play’s Yellow.
After calming Andre down by giving him instructions on how to get water soluble pigment out of one’s clothing – one has to wash everything out thoroughly – I turned to Rob, “How do we feel about having yellow on a section of the wall right now? The can has completely emptied out, so I need to use up this paint while I can!” Rob consented, and enlisted Felix to help move the furniture out of the way.
I always think of a blank canvas as the most intimidating part of a new commission, as I invariably over think the pristine space, but normally, once you get something going the piece begins to work itself out! I did not know where to begin with this wall, but through a weird twist of fate, it got kick started on an upbeat yellow note!