"Anywhere but Bubbles" my friend requests. I ask around and get a few recommendations. They all seemed very Bubbles-ish. I had heard that the Kabalagala district could be really fun. I had also heard that it could be dangerous late at night. I was told not to go alone, be careful, etc., etc. It's a popular area for picking up sex workers. People occasionally get shot. That's OK, I think, as long as it's not me getting into trouble.
We meet at Capital Pub. (www.capitalpub.com) It's a huge bar, with three different levels. It is a little after 7pm. The bar is totally dead. There are maybe ten people scattered about. We have a beer, play an embarrassing game of pool (well, embarrassing for me) and then decide to go eat.
I want to try a Belgian place across from the US Embassy, so we decide to check it out. My friend seems to know where we are going, so I just follow along as we walk farther and farther up a relatively small, busy and very dark street. Finally, "OK, here's the Embassy." We're at the back. We need to be at the front. Why would it be on a desolate side street behind the embassy? The only way to the other side is back the way we came. "I am not supposed to take boda bodas," I say as we stand at the side of the road starring, but not moving, in the direction from which we came. "I know you're not." A boda boda pulls up. We look at each other.
Dinner was good, although I'm not sure what makes it Belgian. The Italian wine? The African king prawns? The fat drips over the top of my uncomfortably tight jeans. I know I shouldn't eat so much, but it isn't rice and beans and all things starchy and white and I just can't help myself. I know I shouldn't drink so much, but I'm having fun pairing celebrities with the wine - it's fresh, fruity and crisp like Zooey Deschanel - and I loose track of how much I've had.
A few beers and a bottle of wine later, we're back at the Capital Pub via an undisclosed mode of transportation. It is now who knows what time and the bar is packed. We are the only muzungus. We look around unable to tell who the prostitutes are and who's just out for a night on the town. We finish our beers and decide every woman must be a prostitute. "I like generalizations" my friend says, "and pop music." "You must be able to at least appreciate the Back Street Boys, right?" No, I think, but now the confessions are flowing as easily as the alcohol. I start to discuss phallic doughnuts. We've already plotted a money-making mass suicide cult.
The clock reads 4:44, but that surely can't be right.
At 9:30am a large white SUV pulls up to my gate. The back door opens. I get out. The guard is chatting with my co-worker out front. No one is ever out front. They look at me curiously. I think about trying to explain myself. Then I remember the more you protest, the guiltier you appear. I smile and walk inside. It's possible I had an early meeting. ...wearing the clothes I wore yesterday. ...alcohol and smoke emanating from my every pore.
I walk out of my bedroom and sit down at my desk. Same shirt. Fresh skirt. It's now 9:45. I am an hour and 45 minutes late. "Good Morning!" she says as she flips off her shoes and glides over to my desk. "Are you busy working?" She is smiling. Is it a sly smile, I wonder. "It's not as bad as it looks," I want to say. But, instead, "You look pretty today". And, she does look pretty. "Thank you." Another smile. Fingers tap my desktop. I look up and smile innocently.
Yes, I think to myself, Kabalagala is very dangerous...all kinds of people getting into all kinds of trouble.