Saturday, 11 December 2010

Catch-up post

I haven't written anything for ages and ages and ages. So here's a quick résumé of the week, just to prove to you that I didn't get eaten by crocodiles in the Congo (are there crocodiles in the Congo? I didn't like to dive in and check) or succumb to Dengue fever or traveller's tummy or something equally awful. Photos to come...

Monday: flying into a snow-dusted Belgium via Rome, Addis Ababa and a gratuitously long, hot and stuffy sojourn in the Salon Business at Kinshasa airport. I realise I've lost the little red slip from La Poste that would have enabled me to pick up a package waiting for me at Porte de Namur. Now I'll never know what it was...

Tuesday: getting back to work in Brussels is a bit of a culture shock. I calmly inform my listeners that there are more than five million villages in Morocco. No-one bats an eyelid.

Wednesday: starting to get used to the temperature again. Unfortunately not enough to remember the need for sensible footwear. I nearly stack it several times running down the hill to work and have a couple of near-misses cutting through an iced-over Jardin de Maelbeek. In Other Business, I've also re-discovered the gym. There is a painful bruise on my hip-bone from where I stepped off the cross-trainer, slightly stunned, and staggered into the wall.

Thursday: an afternoon off! Bliss! Choir practice is one hundred per cent Rutter from now until January. In the morning, no-one notices when I tell them that Victor Hugo - in an impressive feat of longevity - managed to attend a summit in 1948. The meeting ends with a rousing chorus of Ode to Joy and everyone standing to attention. This is exactly how I imagined working for the European Union would be.

Friday: Work lasts well into the darkening afternoon. Lights go off one by one in the other booths as delegates slope off to catch their planes. Eventually it's only us and the French left. The chair finally calls it a day. We manage to track down some mulled wine in the Hairy Canary and the rest of the evening is a bit of a blur.

Polski update: oh gosh... I haven't spoken Polish for ages. I'm forgetting important words and expressions (I had to look up 'mam kaca'). I carried an increasingly battered copy of Wprost around Kinshasa for a week - which was lucky because I forgot my sunhat and it came in really handy keeping the sun off my face by the pool. I've been trying to finish Gra na wielu bębenkach for almost six months. Worst of all, I can no longer take my Tantanka. I need a trip to Kraków, and fast!