Marlene’s daughters from the US are here for Christmas. Did I mention that last Sunday? No, I don’t think I did. I ran on and on about the idea she gave me for another novel. Okay.
Because Marlene’s two daughters who live in the US are here for Christmas, that means there are a whole heck of a lot more of us going to church and there’s no way that four adults and two children can ride in one trishaw. Ain’t gonna happen.
So Marlene hired a white van.
Have I mentioned that white vans are everywhere here?
- They’re a form of taxi service. Whole fleets of white vans carry people everywhere. Some have seating for up to 8 or 9 people. Or if they have seating for five, there’s still tonnes of space for cargo – as in, when I landed, my two cats, two large suitcases and two carry-on bags – with oodles of room left over.
- Personal vehicles. Loads of cargo space or seating.
And yes, they are everywhere. I suspect the white vans probably outnumber all the other colored vans. Yes, they really are that common.
So we took a white van.
Fahim, knowing this, said he was thinking of going DVD shopping and maybe he could catch a ride. Marlene was fine with it, so Fahim tagged along, and meanwhile, since Fahim was going to be with us anyway, I’d arrange to have my setting apart for my calling as District Family History Consultant after church as well.
But one thing at a time.
So yeah, Fahim came along, and what was convenient about it is that Fahim could give the driver directions to the church. Otherwise, how long would we drive around with the driver looking for it? It’s not like either Marlene or I is capable of giving good driving directions to someone who’s English is limited. No, this was much much easier.
Got to the church in record time. Hallelujah!
We arrive at the church and Fahim takes off for Majestic City, yon shopping mall I’ve talked about several times. (04 September 2003, 15 November 2003, 17 November 2003) He says it’s about a fifteen minute walk away – the way he walks. He also brought his computer along to fill in the rest of the time gap – not even he can shop for DVDs for three hours.
After church was over, I went downstairs to find Fahim.
I poked my head outside.
Still no Fahim.
It didn’t occur to look for him in any of the rooms. If it had, I would have found him in the library. When he came out, he told me that he’d arrived at sometime around noon, and some nice guy let him in so he’d have someplace to sit down and read while he waited for me.
While he was sitting there and reading, another guy walked in and asked him if he was Italian. (This is almost – but not quite – as bad as someone thinking I’m Japanese.) Fahim of course denied that he was Italian and said that he was from Sri Lanka. This guy, he tells me, wouldn’t believe. No! Not possible! And this from another Sri Lankan.
I’ve mentioned before that Fahim looks somewhat foreign. Or at least he doesn’t look the same as the rest of the Sri Lankans. He doesn’t. He’s got lighter skin, for one thing, and his face isn’t the least bit round in any way. Throw in his curly curly hair and add to that his hairline . . . Full lips. . . I dunno. He just doesn’t.
I wonder if this means he could get an Italian passport?