I've been meeting some different types of people this weekend, due to a constellation of coincidences I spent most of the weekend not hanging out with other UN and NGO types but, instead, with the private sector and military/mercenary crowd.
Which means a couple of things:
1) I have been mildly assaulted more times in the past 48 hours than in the past 5 years combined. Seriously, these security guys can NOT handle their liquor and get confused and start thinking that the word "Hello" is girl code for "Please lurch at me with your huge, over muscled 6"4' frame and try to kiss me, all while pouring your rum and coke on my feet.
2) I have heard more stories that involve phrases like "When I was in Mogadishu in '95..." or "Hey, Al, do you remember that firefight out of Kandahar? No, not that one, the one with the thing that... yeah, that one."
3) Kabila's old helicopter pilot bought me a few rounds of drinks because he liked my jewelry (the beaded forever 21 necklace from New Years two years ago and the cuff from Truworths, in case anyone was wondering).
Kabila, by the way, for those who don't know, was the leader/man with the guns of The Democratic Republic of Congo (I'm talking about Kabila the elder, who was killed, not Kabila the younger). This guy, a white kenyan, somehow became his personal heli pilot and, after around beer 15 or 16, has some very interesting stories to tell about the kind of fear that can greet a huge white Kenyan dude landing in the middle of the jungle with a commander in the back.
I have to say, other than the constant pawing, it is nice to hang out with the non-NGO people occasionally. There are a lot more off color jokes, a lot more mildly uncomfortable stories and a lot more smoking, but, at the same time, there isn't all the work talk and they just seem to have a much better perspective on why they are here.
Which is to make money.