And So It Was Thursday
In the Kingdom it was Thursday. While the western world was gorging on turkey with all the trimmings – and wondering how they were going to cover off their maxed out credit cards – life carried on as usual.
Being of a bah-humbug nature I didn’t want to do anything Christmasy. The Nurse was working because it was Thursday. Andrew – her partner – Constance – a friend who was born in Singapore – and I decided visit the people who live under a tree and get them some food with Down in the Dumps money. So off we tuk-tuked.
Street 108 was almost deserted. The police had done a raid and the homeless had scattered in all directions.
We learned Lin had gone back to the provinces with her kids. Jive was already there with her sister, as she had sent him shortly after Tran died.
Having been to the family shack – http://www.j-hanson.com/transplanting-trees-to-the-provincial-forest/ — there was no question that she was desperate.
There were a couple of older girls and a bunch of kids, about ten in total. Andrew went off to get the rice and egg while Constance and I went to the market to buy apples and oranges, which are exotic here. Bananas and passion fruit and durian are readily available, but this was imported and exotic, which was ideal for the occasion, even though nobody knew what it was.
Then a woman came up with her baby and said he couldn’t sit down as he had an infected bum. We went to the pharmacy down the street and I rang the Nurse. She couldn’t say much without seeing him so we got some anti-fungal cream and wet wipes.
Back at the tree the mother wiped his bum and I got in up-close-and-personal to get photos to show the Nurse. Then it was time for lunch, but not before a good hand scrub.
We ended up at Fish & Co. on the riverfront, a place that specializes in sea food. Across from us I noticed tanks of what looked like guppies on the floor. I asked Constance about it and she said the garra rufa eat the dead skin off your feet.
In a leap and a bound I kicked off my shoes and plunged my feet into the water. The sensation was unusual, rather like being slightly tickled or having an army of ants crawling on my feet. Constance joined me, but Andrew and Nick weren’t prepared to take off their shoes.
Later I read about it. At spas people in the UK pay $55 to have their feet nibbled. Other reports said it has been banned in some states as it isn’t considered hygienic. The jury is out, but it is one of those glad-I-did-it-but-won’t-repeat-the-experience.
Then we called Vichika and told her we were on our way to the dump. Alex – a guy sitting next to us who was born in New Zealand, but lived in Switzerland – was on his own so we invited him to join us. Andrew decided he would pass on the dump as every time he went there people tried to give him their babies to take back to Australia.
It was quiet at the dump as the kids were in school and the adults were sleeping so they could go out and scavenge at night. We left the fruit we’d brought with Vichika and wandered around. There is more construction going on and the houses seemed to have improved slightly as there are more people with flowers and decorations. There are also more carts and small motorcycles.
It was a pleasant way to spend Thursday with people who didn’t know it was Christmas. But that is going to change. Commercialization is creeping in and there are artificial Christmas trees and decorations all over the place. Having to listen to Jingle Bells and I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas at the supermarket is an endurance test.
Down in the Dumps Update
Since I have decided to move to Cuba at the end of January – Headed for Havana blog to follow – I will get things organized with the Nurse about the finances. I will write a report about the work we have done with the $7241. people have donated.
Neil and Emma have put us on automatic payment and Andrew covered the Christmas lunch under the tree. The total now sits at $479.06. The next project is that Nick has arranged a bus and we are going to take 37 kids to the water park next Saturday.
I hope you had a merry and that a happy is coming up. Then it is on to the Year of the Sheep.