Feeling comfortably numb

Folks, you will have to excuse me if I have lost some of my ability for prose this week. I have the kind of cotton wool head that can only be generated by switching from one of the world’s least developed nations to one of its most advanced in under seven days. Let me limit myself to a few early observations that have managed to pierce their way through the collective fog:

1. Technology everywhere – Of course I hadn’t completely forgotten how pervasive gadgets and gizmos have become in Western society but it wasn’t until I caught myself topping up the credit on my phone whilst having my retina scanned instead of showing my passport that it struck me just how much of our lives are ruled by them. I tried to write this on my new smartphone to prove a point but my Danish predictive text kept adding æ’s and ø’s to perhaps prove another.

2. Ridiculousy (over)developed infrastructure – Forget about marvelling at smoothly tarred roads and working traffic lights, I now get to live in a society where they actually paint out the arc you should take when turning at an intersection. Some might find this a little over proscriptive for their driving style but after a year of almost no road markings, potholes the size of small swimming pools and the unsurprising consequence of lots of horrific traffic accidents – I find it all strangely soothing.

3. The uneasy silence caused by Zambian etiquette – I appear to have become deeply attached to starting each social interaction with a “hello” and a “how are you?” with  the full anticipation of a proper answer to both. Needless to say this has elicited more than a few second looks particularly from bus drivers and other random waiters and salespeople. I must point out that my Danish hosts are performing far better at handling my outbursts of civility than the British where my very first conversation began with universal hand of friendship that is “You cant park there!”

4. Good cheese and fast internet – I really can’t describe how good it is to have both of these back in my life

5. Spending time with old friends – Clichéd I know but by goodness is it nice to back in the bosom of your nearest and dearest even if you leave them again after only 48 hours. The only snag is that these days I have a whole world of close friends back in Zambia to now equally feel a million miles away from. Sometimes you just can’t win!

One Response to “Feeling comfortably numb”
  1. rebecca says:

    Good to have you back a little nearer (although still, alas, too far) – I have a moment between baby naps and have read your most recent observations. I miss you !!! hope all well over there and hope to see you soon old pal.

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