Sunday, November 13, 2011


Another three-day weekend for Veterans' Day, another one of those "holidays" I never realized was a real holiday until I started working for the government. I don't have the visas to go anywhere and have the duty phone this weekend anyway, so I spent the entire three days doing nothing. Intensive nothing. I read three books (okay, all of one and half of two), watched four movies, spent five hours at the pool and cooked, a lot.

I baked brownies to eat with last weekend's caramelized banana ice cream, made a giant bowl of guacamole with avocados from my backyard which I ate with tortilla chips from thousands of miles away (yay globalization), and assembled a truly outstanding sandwich from bacon, provolone, red pepper mayonnaise, garlicky sauteed spinach, a fried egg, and buttermilk bread from my bread machine.

However, my lethargic bliss was occasionally interrupted by a twinge of guilt, which I blame entirely on AFN. See, amidst the admonitions to wear seatbelts and advice on post-9/11 bill benefits they air during the commercials is a series of spots exhorting servicemembers to leave base every once in a while and experience their host country. The one that gets under my skin the most shows a TV-watching couple being haunted by a ghost who seems to have been hired by the local tourism board until they agree to go ride bikes down to the castle.

In case you aren't clear on this, there ain't no castle in Conakry. There isn't even a slave fort, which is a shame because I would be all about seeing it. I'm not saying that Guinea is a culture and entertainment wasteland because that's absolutely not true, but with no Time Out Conakry, no Conakryist, minimal maps, no tourism industry to speak of the amount of effort required to seek out the best Guinea has to offer frequently exceeds the energy I have available. So I stay home, and the Ghost of Guinean Tourism hovers uncomfortably in the back of my head

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