Tuesday, May 6, 2008

An indulgent day

After work on Friday, my last day at Life in Africa, I went whole hog American: I went to the Cineplex at the mall to see the opening day show of “Iron Man,” which I thoroughly enjoyed. I’m not saying it’s a great movie; I’m just saying it’s a satisfying thing to watch after seven weeks in Africa—especially the moment when Robert Downey’s character, Tony Stark, returns to the U.S. after three months of captivity in Afghanistan and tells his assistant he wants two things: an American cheeseburger, and to call a press conference. “But first the cheeseburger.” Oh, I’m hearing that.

Which made it particularly wonderful to go to a restaurant called “New York Kitchen” tucked away in the parking garage of the mall. They sell NY style thin crust pizza by the slice, but I got a bagel with cream cheese, avocado and tomato and a slice of red velvet cake! RED VELVET CAKE! And it wasn’t a serve-40-people-from-a-cake-the-size-of-a-paperback slice of cake. This was a good America slab o' cake the size of a monument. It was bigger than the bagel. I have a photo here with a fork next to it for purposes of scale. But, boy, did it make it clear how out of whack American servings are. I saw that piece of cake and realized that it ought to serve four people, minimum.

The differences between cultures were also apparent during the ads before the movie. There was an ad promoting a new housing development on the Entebbe Road that guaranteed that each new home would have electricity and running water. Ex-pats had a separate ad aimed at them for a housing development (called “Kensington”) that didn’t mention electricity and water. I’m assuming they were included, though.

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