I never thought I would live somewhere where I see a machine-gun mounted to the top of a truck on a daily basis. This is the amazing sight one has upon entering my housing compound, or walking to the main hospital. Who knows if it's loaded? And who cares- it looks pretty bad ass....except that the guards that surround it are 17-19 year old boys who weigh-in around 100lbs. Still it should deter trouble coupled with the barbwire that encircles the entire compound. Then there is the vehicle checks when you enter the compound. Sometimes you are stopped, the hood is lifted up, the engine inspected, same same with the trunk. Other times you get stopped just for a closer look at your uncovered hair, or to attempt to chat you up. Then there are the waves that are exchanged from the inside of the car to the numerous guards outside. Sometimes I'm pretty convinced that I'm the Queen of Canada (if we had one), or at least a famous pop star for all the attention we get!!
Over the weekend I attended a house party in the DQ (Diplomatic Quarter not to be confused with Dairy Queen). I kid you not- the directions to the party where "continue past the armoured vehicle, you will then come to a tank, and there will be a check-point on the right, pass thru the check-point...." Amazing- possibly the highlight of my month thus far. At this party a dude started to chat me up (most of the party was Americans) he asked me where I was from. I said "not American- guess." He replied "England?" "No." "Scotland, Ireland, Northern Ireland, and finally Whales." I was slightly taken aback by how smart this guy was- finally I said "what's that country called that's just north of your country?" Ding ding- CANADA!! This guy clearly wasn't top of his class in guessing accents identical to Americans!!