Sunday, March 6, 2011

# 27 My Arrival

What a trip! We did NOT get first class, but whatever, we arrived. It started off freezing in Washington, DC and ended crazy hot in N’Djamena, Tchad. To top it all off, I haven’t had a haircut in months. And they wouldn’t give me any sedatives for the plane trip. Can I just say how incredibly boring the plane ride is from Washington, DC to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia is? Then tack onto that the flight to N’Djamena, Tchad. That’s a whole lotta hours without entertainment. I mean, no in-flight movie, no headphones, no fancy monitor in front of me where I can play games with other people, no meal service. No nuthin’.
Such is the life of a dog.
My name’s Midnight. That’s my sister, Sheba. Sheba is part husky, part yellow lab. Nobody ever really told me what I was. I’m about Sheba’s size and I’ve known her, like, forever. In fact, we’ve been together every day since we were just a couple weeks old. Maybe even days old. We don’t really know our exact birthdays because we were both baby mutts dropped off at a shelter. I can’t remember a day before I met her. Anyway, as I was saying, I always figured I was part husky, part yellow lab too. Well, I’ll get to my embarrassing revelation here in a flash.
So we land at the airport in N’Djamena, right? Then we’re put into the open trunk of a taxi and driven around town. Not quite the sight-seeing trip we had signed up for, but whatever. To make a long story short, the next day we ended up at the bus station for the five or six-hour drive to Bere.
Except... the bus refused to take us! Can you believe it? They wouldn’t allow us inside. Not even in our kennels. They wouldn’t even allow us to ride in our kennels on top of the bus! They’ll strap chickens and goats to the roof of the bus, but they won’t allow us to ride in FAA-approved kennels. In fact, none of the fancy bus companies would take us, even if we paid for our own seats. At first, I just thought it was because we were white.
We finally found a mini-van that would take us at noon. They wouldn’t allow us in the van outside of our kennels and they wouldn’t allow us to ride on the roof. So they ripped out the back seat (which was the sixth!!! row in this mini-van) and made us pay for two seats each! Anyway, stuck in the Tchadian heat in our kennels in the back of a mini-van, we waited the three hours until noon. Except, we didn’t leave at noon. Everybody got in the mini-van around one. Then we sat around for an hour. The people that put us in the van wanted to get paid for their labor. Our parents refused.
Finally, with four across in every row, we pulled out about 2PM. Wait, actually, that’s not quite true. The mini-van wouldn’t start. So we were pushed/pulled through about a twelve-point turn until we could get enough of a straightaway to be push-started, stalled, then push-started a few more times through the sand. After about an hour, at 3PM, our noon bus finally left the hustle-and-bustle capital of Tchad, N’Djamena.
We kept continually stopping. Sometimes for people to pee (although they never let us out to pee). Sometimes to buy food (although they never fed us). Sometimes to pay tolls. Once we even stopped at a police checkpoint. The police started to demand our papers and everything. We had all the right papers, but they just wanted to stall so they could stare at us longer. I guess they’ve never seen dogs that aren’t brown with short hair. You know, it IS kinda hot here. Maybe there’s a reason why there aren’t any Siberian Huskies in Tchad.
Anyways, I’ll shorten up this story a bit. After several more stops to eat, poop in the bush and change a flat tire, and just before MIDNIGHT, our supposedly-noon bus arrived at Bere, our new home. What should have been a six hour trip was twelve!!! But it’s still nice just to be home. Our parents introduced us to our new home, reminded us that we needed to go to the bathroom after almost 15 hours in the mini-van and put us to bed.
The next day we met everybody. Lyol, of course, we knew already. He’s changed a lot in four months, but I’d know that crazy bald puppy anywhere. Weird that he still hasn’t grown any hair on his body. He cracks me up. Well, except when he’s tugging on my fur, yanking my ears, hitting me, etc. I just put up with it or walk away. You know, ‘be the bigger dog’ and all. ‘Take the high leash.’ Caramel is another dog here. I’ve always been the shy one, but I eventually hashed out my differences with Caramel and we get along just great now. There are a couple other dogs around, but they’re all brown, short-haired dogs. You know, not to be a dog-ist or anything, but they all just look the same to me.
Ok, so I’ve got to get something off my chest. It’s actually the entire reason that I typed this blog. (As an aside, you wouldn’t believe how hard it is to type when my parents haven’t cut my nails in like, forever.) I am a racist. There, I’ve said it. Admitting it is the first step, right?
There are a couple pieces of this equation that are sadly ironic. For one, my parents had black friends in America who would come over all the time. I was cool with them. You know, I bark like any good dog does when somebody comes to the door. Kinda like a hey-what’s-up-I-know-you’re-cool-but-just-to-remind-you-that-I’ll-chew-your-face-off-if-you-mess-with-my-family-now-welcome-to-the-house-make-yourself-at-home-don’t-sit-on-my-pillow-or-I’ll-poop-in-your-shoe-my-friend kinda bark. You know how it goes. The normal, standard, run-of-the-mill bark I give to everybody. I don’t differentiate. At least I didn’t.
Two, I’m colorblind.
Three, I’m black. This is the weirdest of all, not to mention the most embarrassing. I mean, nobody ever told me. And I’m too short to ever look in a mirror. I guess the name ‘Midnight’ should have tipped me off. It turns out my mom was a golden retriever, but she got a little tipsy one night on expired milkbones and met up with the next-door neighbor, a black lab, and nine dog-months later, I came along. I look just like a golden retriever... but pitch black. My ‘parents’ (I now hafta put quotation marks around that one every time, now that I know I was adopted) just recently told me the whole story.
So I bark my head off at all the black people. I just can’t control myself. I used to stop barking once my ‘parents’ told me it was ok. Now I just can’t stop. Night, day, morning, evening, afternoon. No matter how hot it is, how tired or hungry I am, I just never get tired of barking at black people. And you wouldn’t believe how many black people are in Africa!!!!
A few things, however, HAVE changed since I discovered my true heritage. I ordered the complete set of ROOTS DVDs from PBS and I’m really looking forward to watching those on the computer. I’ve started sagging the fur on my hind legs. I’ve been listening to a lot of Snoopy Dog. I’ve ordered Ecko and Fubu catalogs and I’m writing them letters asking them to start a doggy-sweater line. Cross your paws for me.
You Might be in Tchad if...
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