Atlas & Alice | Issue 7, Summer/Fall 2016
train station. It wasn’t anything like what I had expected. There were white people all over the beach. There wasn’t a shack in sight, and there were jeeps. Those were probably the last two things I expected to see, white people and cars. There were taller buildings off on the horizon, like a modern city scape. They reminded me of spending time in Atlanta. “Has it always been this nice here kid?” “Ever since I’ve been alive, yes it has been this nice.” “It’s hot, but it’s beautiful. Like Florida or the west coast or something like that.” “Oh it’s not America sir, but this is my home.” The hotel was on the bank of a river. It’s where I saw the white people bathing. The coast was separated from the shore by a foot-tall stone wall and there were tiny umbrellas with an array of colorful plastic chairs placed upside down hiding from the sun. None of it felt authentic. I had come here to write about a boxing match, in which two Americans were going to attempt to kill each other, and the whole country felt dressed up and fake for my arrival. Sometimes life feels like a plastic fruit. Obasi dropped me off at my room, and returned my bags. I was going to be staying in the African equivalent of a Ramada Inn for my entire trip, what an adventure. “I will be by to pick you up tomorrow. We are going to see the town.” “What time?” “The morning, so you can begin your writing at night.” I hadn’t planned on doing any writing until after the fight. The towns, the sports, it’s all the same, regardless of the location. “Are you rooting for anybody Obasi, any of the fighters?” “I like the big one. He’s going to crush the other fighter.” I decided to get comfortable, to feel out the room before I did anything else. There was a mural plastered over my bed that featured multi-colored humans in masks, at least I think they were humans. They were holding scythes and spades, typical farming equipment. The mural was the closest thing I had seen to my traditional thoughts of Africa, and it was in my hotel room. The rest looked like a normal hotel, off-colored comforters and sheets, drapery that looked like it belonged in a thrift store, and imitation wood chairs and tables. It was all there, where I expected it to be. After rummaging through the minibar for a few hours I started looking for the standard hotel notepad. It was in the drawer next to a small leather bound book with golden engravings. The book’s cover said “Sai”.
The stadium was completely empty aside from Obasi, the event manager, and myself. If