Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Me and the reindeer

It's been 22 days since my quest for a visa extension began in Tunis. At first it was fun, but now I've seen the ruins, swum in the Med, toured the sights, read all the English books I can find and I'm still here.

I've become a fixture in the Belvedere, on a first-name basis with the staff. Emma, the maid, has told me her life story; Mohammed jokes me about my chocolate addiction, the breakfast room waiters war to bring me extra fruit in the mornings and when I return from my daily, so far fruitless, visits to the consulate, Hayet and the others at the front desk pause in what they're doing and ask "GOOD NEWS?"

I am going batty. And this is what is keeping me sane. The reindeer.

Every day coming back from the consulate I walk by the city zoo. From the street you can first smell and then see the reindeer. And there they are, my fellow prisoners locked up in a hot, dusty pen far from home. And I think they have it worse.

Tomorrow I am bringing them graham crackers.

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