May 31, 2010

"As for me, from my first weeks in Arica, I had felt a great affection for the Natives. It was a strong feeling that embraced all ages and both sexes. The discovery of the dark races was to me a magnificent enlargement of all my world. If a person with an inborn sympathy for animals had grown up in a milieu where there were no animals, and had come into contact with animals late in life; or if a person with an instinctive taste for woods and forest had entered a forest for the first time at the age of twenty; or if some one with an ear for music had happened to hear music for the first time when he was almost grown up; their cases might have been similar to mine. After I met with the Natives, I set out the routine of my daily life to the Orchestra" (Isak Dinesen, Out of Africa).

The kinds of conversations that crop up before one leaves for Africa:

Steve: I know what you're going to do. You're going to travel to Africa and meet a British man you're going to bring home with you.
Me: I'm not so sure about that. I already met one last time, and...not really my taste.
Steve: Yeah, they're kinda snooty, so you're going to meet a Frenchman, after you're through with him, and...
Me: I think I met plenty of Frenchmen in Haiti, and they didn't really do it for me either.
Steve's friend, Rich: Steve just likes to throw out as many options as possible so he's never wrong.
Steve: Okay, then, after the Frenchmen...where are you going next, again?