The Riddle of the Sands

Pass the brandy, Timkins.

We entered the Burami Oasis at about 5 o’clock yesterday evening. The camels, dusty and exhausted from the long trek across the Ba’oul Massif, made a beeline for the watering hole. “I’d swear they were wateroholics,” said Timkins who was dun-coloured all over, making him look like an extension of his camel rather than a separable entity. Perhaps you meanhydraulics‘, I replied. He laughed and said that Tuareg phrase he likes so much, although I suspect that he has been misinformed about the translation.

The ubiquitous Tuareg were already camped out in the oasis. One of them looked at us and said something. Later I learnt it was, “Camels? Dude, that’s, like, so 19th century.” They were lucky, though. The Burami Oasis Hotel had valet parking, just not for camels. In fact, we had to hide the camels behind some date palms before they would let us into the hotel. In fact, we barely got into the hotel because they have a no-burnoose policy. Of course, we blended in well against the tan-coloured steps of the hotel, so the doormen barely noticed us.

When I got to my room, the first thing I did was to have a shower. It was so long since I had last been in contact with water that I was wondering whether it had changed in some way. But no. It was still wet and still came out of taps. Half the Ba’oul Massif went down the plughole, and when I got out of the shower and saw myself in the mirror, I was shocked to see just how much weight I had lost. It just goes to show that eating MacDonald’s can be part of a weight-loss diet.

I sat down in one of the chairs and instantly fell asleep. Really instantly. I thought that I was made of sterner stuff, and in all my life I’ve never dropped off so suddenly. I don’t know how long I would’ve slept if Timkins hadn’t come knocking on my door with some news:

“Hotmail is still not working.”

[03.08.14. Just to explain. In May 2006, Hotmail was having some major problems, which is why my main e-mail address these days is gmail. I don’t think it was ever explained why Hotmail had such problems. For one of my current colleagues, Hotmail is still problematic from school.

I’ve been weeding out some trivial old entries which would’ve been better off as posts on Facebook.]


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