THIS IS HOW EXPATS PARTY IN MONROVIA

expats

The word Party encapsulates the meaning of the universe. The idea of a party offers an opportunity to escape from the powerful and dictatorial god by the name of Routine. When the lungs breathe out “party”, the possibility of possibility appears, dripping with adrenaline. A someone.

Let us reveal the secret once and for all: weeks and parties have signed a timeless contract. They are lifelong pals. Without going into the detail of the preamble and the appendices, the agreement is that the week gives way to partying, during the break at the end of the week.

Article 7 reads: the yoke of the alarm clock, the tying of the laces, the daily routine that is thrust upon us in a forced and compulsory manner, that series of Mondays, Tuesdays, the necktie, pacing hastily along the corridors, the papers, and an office.

This is the work of the week. And here in Article 8: the weekend takes on its mythical status, creating the need to party. Friday and Saturday are the altars. Signed: the week, the party.
That is why when Friday appears, people are thirsty for that indescribable concoction known as freedom. Something different, God damn it. This is where the power of the word Party comes from. Every party means the opportunity to meet someone. Every time something changes. Maybe tonight.

Now, I’m in an apartment block in Sinkor, in the Sea Suits compound overlooking a pool, and there are lots of people around. The Africans seize every opportunity to dance, moving as if they had no bones, and François comes over to tell me that the best party is in the compound on the other side. “That’s going to be a good one, mate.” Meanwhile, they’re playing Ashawo here and it makes you want to leap about when you hear the chorus with its beat, its infectious Waka waka baby, oh yeah, Wuru wuru baby, oh yeah… Oh baby sawale, Sawa sawa sawale, sawa sawa sawale, ashawo…

And in the background, the sea. The crashing waves. “There’s a better party on the other side, mate.” François came over to tell me again later, after giving me a slap on the shoulder. François is a professor of the night. And, after a while this party is indeed dying; people are leaving in droves, making their farewells with hugs and handshakes.

A slight decline, a shame and then the Darwinian natural selection leaves just a group of rogues, spinsters and other souls. Once again we are in François’ Toyota 4Runner. The music is pounding through the windows and everyone is bouncing in their seats, they’re very excited. Very excited indeed.

Two Africans in uniform open the green iron door and the Toyota 4Runner leads the way, triumphant in the Oasis compound. We get out of the car and can already hear disco music coming from the other side of the compound, behind the concrete, near the pool. The pool, always the pool. We walk across the damaged lawn and in the distance, getting ever sharper, we can see lots of people in swimming gear and other bare chests messing about around the pool, singing, shouting, shoving people into the water.

And then I saw it. There were two giant speakers pumping out fast-paced music, music for cool, modern types, who like Depeche Mode and wear sunglasses after dark.  Cool. Great rhythm.

Everything is chaotic. I keep moving closely. The people who came with me have already spread out; they have joined in the fun in a clumsy and decisive way. I saw how Luisa vanished with her green glamorous New Year’s Eve dress… But in the neighbouring pool, Dante’s Divine Comedy is being re-enacted, a painting by Bosch and a lascivious inferno that attracts with the force of forbidden magnets.

I have acquired a plastic glass of beer and when I drink it I can see over the top of the glass, a little further away, like a bear that is lost and ends up in the middle of the motorway. In the water, I can only see bare chests, swimsuits, a few bikini tops and a mixture of shoving, stupidity and flesh, lots of flesh. I repeat, I was thinking of Dante, of Bosch, and it was here that I bumped into my friend, Yure, who was wearing a purple wig.

I was delighted to see an ally in this hostile battlefield. Yure took off the wig and put it on my head. At first, for about seven seconds, I thought I liked it, that I too was cool, but I quickly went off this greasy wig soaked in beer…and I gave it back with a fake smile.

In the pool, you can’t see anything anymore. “Gentlemen, clarity has died.” Now everything is like a painting by Kandinsky, a mess of abstraction of mixed and lost colours. Suddenly Luisa appears again without her green dress.  She’s clearly out of play; with those looks, her destiny had been to dance on a varnished parquet dance floor with a gentleman wearing a bow tie and now here she is … enveloped in libidinal sludge. People keep falling into the pool. Occasionally we have to move, dodging the attacks from a fat guy in Bermuda shorts.

Maybe it was that same guy who made me smile a bit later, who also made me smile to myself when I realised that once again I had forgotten to read the appendices to the contract that had been signed between the week and the party. The small print.

And yet. There will be other Fridays. Other Saturdays will return.

The author
Carlos Battaglini

I left everything to become a writer, join me on this adventure. More about me

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