Thursday, May 29, 2008

Pied pipering

I was out for a jog this evening and, since the main roads are congested, I was jogging in the settlements behind my house. It is actually a lovely run, right on the edge of town, the green flats all lovely and ladies at the water pumps calling out "Good morning good morning" to me (it was 6.30 but it is always good morning in Sudan for some reason) and, ya know, it was all very lovely.

Then this young guy wobbles past me on a bike, so drunk I could actually see the alcohol waves emanating from his body. As I went past him he literally jumped off his bike while it was still moving, in retrospect a pretty smooth move for a man at his level of intoxication, and he started jogging behind me, mumbling to himself. The sun was behind us so I could see his shadow, every move I made he mimicked. If I ran left, he ran left, if I jumped up a bit to get over a puddle he jumped up a bit to get over the puddle, even if it actually landed him in the puddle since he was about five feet behind me.

I wasn't that nervous, I was in a crowded area and I knew if he tried to grab at me someone would help, so I just started doing lots weird zigs and zags to see if he'd follow, which he did. Everyone we ran past thought this was hysterical; girl in bright pink track bottoms and sunglasses and deee-runk Sudanese kid having a sort of Forest Gump moment on the back streets of Juba. Soon, every child I ran past began to join in. By the time I hit the main road I had a train of about eight or nine people following me, mimicking my every move and I'm doing, like, Riverdance kicks every third step just to get them to copy me.

By the time we hit the road we'd run about a mile and I think my alcohol loving friend was feeling the pace, god knows I could smell the booze coming off in his sweat to the point I was getting loopy from the fumes and he stopped, forcing all the kids behind him to stop as well.

I ran off down the main dirt road, waving to my fan club and getting screams of encouragement and "Good morning" from all of them as they turned to go home. I swear, you can't make this stuff up.

No comments: