Hiking at Lake Alau

22/12/07 I’m still not in Christmas mood but feeling much less depressed after a nice outing to Lake Alau with Albert from Albito Arts. We left here about 8:30 or 9am and arrived at the dam about 40 mins later. And then we just walked and walked and walked along the shores of the lake until about 4pm. Now I’m dead tired but soooo happy. It felt so good to be out of the town, just me the lake and Albert’s company. A nice change after the Sallah chaos at Abakura’s house. Don’t get me wrong, I really enjoyed this and his mum and sisters are all lovely but 3 wives, 32 siblings plus other relatives and visitors and endless discussions about the different cultures, values and morals of north-eastern Nigeria and ‘the’ West – sorry, that’s simply who I am: I occasionally need a few minutes on my own during the day and if I don’t get them I find that really really exhausting. And Lake Alau and its serene, at times eerie beauty were a nice change for a day, fuel for the soul, rest for the mind and exercise for the body – I’m sure I’ll sleep like a baby tonight!

And before I forget to mention it: I was invited to the launch of the album of one of Lankester’s friends, Lankester being the owner of one of the art shops in town and an aspiring rapper/singer/musician. It was all quite different from what I had anticipated. Starting with the fact that I wasn’t only the only white person there – I kind of suspected this much – but until about 10mins before I left also the only girl. And this guy who, once they finally started, let through the show couldn’t stop making comments about the baturiya. And, of course, these comments were in Hausa. – What is it with people that they rather talk behind your back or discuss you in language they assume you don’t understand right under your nose rather then addressing you directly? I mean, the other day two chaps of about 12-15 years sitting right next to me in the taxi not only called me a whore but also concluded that I was about to drink oil because I dropped off in front of a petrol station. – Get a life! Or rather some manners!

Anyway, this CD launch party was supposed to start at 2pm and last till 7pm, so I felt safe to make an appointment for dinner with Nabil at 7.30pm. Well, at 5pm when I came there were just a handful of guys sitting around the pool chatting. At about 6pm somebody brought a generator, which duly went off in flames a few minutes later. About 6:30pm another gen was brought and somebody actually managed to get some light for the end of the pool that served as stage. At 6:50 Lankester (second left in below photo), who had invited me to see his performance, finally turned up. We just about managed to snap some pictures before I was told off for keeping these guys from performing and I left to meet up with Nabil. The funny and slightly disturbing things was, this guy addressed me as Abakura’s friend despite the fact that I personally can’t remember ever having seen him before! Back at the Lebanese restaurant, I suddenly hear ‘tsssssss Katrin’ and must find out that Lankester also does the DJ there, and even better he and Nabil are kind of buddies. What a village!?! And anyway, a weird experience after the day at Abakura's nice but stoutly Muslim family.

But now: Good night. Tomorrow morning I’ll have to try to finally get hold of Abdullah from the Islamic Art Gallery again. … Oh, and make up my mind whether to go to the official CD launch in the evening. Do you think it would be worth it?!

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