Monday, January 31, 2011

Overherad #15

"In the world of compromise, some men don't." HK slogan.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Pit Stop

My flight home for my off rotation had a transiting stop in Doha. I made a quick dash out to enjoy the city and see about a friend who's working there. After more than 2 months of brown and dusty, Doha with its manicured lawns, clean organized streets and futuristic skyline, looks like heaven to me, absolute heaven!

"I want to move and work and live here!" I repeated that like a broken record, to the annoyance of my friend.

Sorry W. Please bear with me.

Friday, January 14, 2011

This Time Next Week

This time around next week, I'll be home! Yay! My very first R&R, 20 wonderful and lovely days off, relaxing and doing nothing await.

After 80 over mundane and monotonous days here in Khartoum, I'm really really really looking forward to go home. Well not so much for the exciting big city sights and sounds or comfort and luxury, rather it's more of getting away from the depressing brown ambience here, and heading home for the vibrant and invigorating green landscape, and more importantly the familiarity and ease of home and the people.

Oh wait, this time next week, I'll actually be at the wedding reception of one of my younger cousins, avoiding and deflecting the "Hey when are going getting married?" question and the 8 millions varieties of questions along that line, from grandma, mom, aunts, uncles, older and younger married cousins and other hardly known and unknown relatives.

Still, I'm looking forward for home.

Saturday, January 08, 2011


Just can't shake off the faces of the kids at Kandahar. Kids, no older than mid teens. At such tender age they are out earning a couple measly bucks, shining shoes and washing cars. How hard life has been, and will be for them? Still they are all wide-eye and smiley face and high spirited. Innocence is perhaps a blessing and a curse.

Poverty is a vicious cycle. How do we break that? I thought of my twin nephews A and J at home, how blessed and how lucky and how spoilt they are.

Monday, January 03, 2011

First Meal of 2011

We headed out to Kandahar on the crisp chilly morning of new year's day. Here, Kandahar is a neighborhood at the edge of Khartoum, not the war torn hotspot in Afghanistan. It is famous for it's grilled kharouf (lamb) eateries serving up amazing kharouf meals.

We were there to kick off the new year with a feast of pan grilled kharouf, barbecued ribs and local kharouf stew. The meat was cooked over charcoal fired stove. Once done, the food was wonderfully spread on a huge pan and served with greens, salad, bread, dipping sauces and other delicious trimmings. There was no cutlery. We sat around the pan and ate with our hands.

The meat and ribs was grilled to perfection. The chunks of meat jolting taste buds to life with it's tenderness, succulence, earthy sweetness and smokey-ness, without a hint of the gamy smell that normally associated with lamb. They have a magical way of farming their kharouf here, the meat is just soft and without the overpowering smell. The stew was just as good, rich, sweet and spicy, kind of a distant cousin of curry, with the meat soft and falling out from the bones, assimilated into the thick gravy. It was just as natural as a reflex to soak up the tasty juiciness of the stew with a piece of bread. Oh heavenly scrumptousness. Everything of the meal was just superb, even the strange raw onion salad, simply dressed with fresh lime, was sweet and refreshing.

My first meal of 2011 was indeed a feast to remember, and hopefully to repeat regularly.

Saturday, January 01, 2011

New Year New Dish

Look closely at the square plate on top of the stack. That was raw lamb liver and onion chunks dressed in freshly squeezed lemon juice and mayo-ish dressing. Key words: RAW lamb liver. The locals love it. Apparently it's good for fighting off malaria and asthma.

I was never a big fan of animal innards dishes, what's more if it's raw ones. So upon some serious coaxing and heavy coercing and embarrassingly sissy name calling and rowdy chicken buck-bucking, I picked up a piece, the smallest piece that I could fish out, held it between my thumb and index finger, feeling it's squiggly firmness, then look at it like forever with rowdier and noisy chicken bucking in the background. I tasted it with the tip of my tongue a couple of times like a snake, and finally nibbled the tiniest bite.

Even rowdier cheers erupted.

The fresh lemon juice fragrance and onion sharp scent were refreshing, hiding or wiping out completely the gamy bloody musty smell of the raw liver, which I knew I could not swallow, let alone stomach. But it was quite alright actually, borderline delicious even. I did not gag or throw chunk, as I anticipated. Thank God!

It didn't taste like chicken. It felt more like a lemony savory jelly.

New year, new dish, new adventure, new experience.