A new shoe-shop has opened in Villingili but the owner is taking no chances and has diversified. You might enter looking for footwear but you are just as likely to emerge with the latest in tinned tuna.
Take my first adult English class (8.30 pm – 10.00 pm). There are eleven students and my new boss informs me: “You will be paid per student, Jane, and I will give you 50% of all fees paid. But I think eleven students are too much so let us make them two classes over three hours.” “I thought you said I would work one-and-a-half hours each night?” “Yes, I did say that. But now you should work three hours per night and it will be much easier for you – aren’t you glad I am so thoughtful?”
Dhonis. If a dhoni driver detects the merest whiff of a speedboat, he halts his craft suddenly; for, a dhoni, I have discovered, bounces around violently in the wake of its snazzier cousin. Also, when they dock, everyone races to get off as if the thing is on fire even though only one person at a time can disembark. Meanwhile, those at the terminal try to embark – via the same tiny set of steps and at the exact same time – as if it’s the evacuation of Saigon. Sometimes the ferry is driven from the front like a bus. When driven from the back, the driver steers the rudder with his leg stuck out behind him, striking some elegant poses. Imagine the job interview: “Now then, Ibrahim Rafah, show us your arabesque penché … lovely. Now, on to Thoha Shadhu, whom, I believe just might be our man – with his ground-breaking arabesque pour – eek – un speedboat.”