The night where I became a dramatic wuss

Question: What’s covered in sweat, cold, and crying?
Answer: Me – after my first tennis lesson. Okay, not crying, definetly trying not to... (I know, big surprise there).

Remember I’m taking tennis lessons in order to keep me un-cranky?

Here’s how it all started. Tuesday night, I had my driver dropped me off a few minutes early to the tennis club. It’s a bit isolated, but I’ve only been there during the day and it’s usually a pretty busy place. So I told him to leave and pick me up in an hour.

While I wait for my tennis instructor to come, I sit down in the outside lounge area. Next to me, there are a group of about 12 local guys. They are drunk. They are annoying. One starts hitting on me. I pretend not to speak French. I’m annoyed and start texting people in order to appear that I’m not paying attention. This is pretty new behaviour to me here. While I’m almost always stared at wherever I go (I’m a white giant in MG), I’m rarely approached.

Five minutes later, Celestin, my tennis instructor shows up. Okay, I’m glad. Those guys were making me extremly uncomfortable.

Celestin and I start hitting the balls and I am having a blast! I’m clutzy, but I'm slowly catching on! We even get a few rallies! (It’s so hard though…so many things to think about AND hit the ball at the same time!)

At times it was a bit awkward because some of the guys from before came towatch ... I guess watching an awkward six foot tall blonde chick trying to hit a tennis ball is entertainment on a Tuesday nght…

Anyway, an hour later, I’ve improved a lot, and am a sweaty beast! It was a great workout and SOOO much fun!!

So much fun....that I don’t realize the tennis club is now closed. The court lights are on a timer, and they shut off. Now it is pitch black.
I look around.
My driver is not there.
I call him, he doesn’t pick up.
I call him again, he doesn’t pick up.
All of my stuff was kept with my driver…it wasn’t safe for me to bring all my stuff to the tennis court. I have nothing on me, no ID, only $20,000 Ar I had in my shorts pocket, and my phone.

So now, it’s dark (I’ve mentioned this before, but it is really dark!), and I’m with my tennis instructor.

He leaves to go pack up and I’m alone in the dark. Withouth a driver.

In the middle of nowhere. I start thinking what to do. I should mention that I pretty much do not stay calm.

I call a few expats looking for rides. No one answers. I start getting less calm.

I then see this guy sitting on the side of the lounge area, I say hello to him and motion for him to come near me. I figure that's the best option rather than have him sit in the dark far away from me. He kind of looks like he works here.
I figure out he is the security guard. I try explaining myself to him, tell him what’s going on. And…then, thanks to the fact that I am not staying calm, at all, I can’t remember how to speak French. I’m stammering, extremely uncomfortable, and a bit freaked out that I’m in this isolated area, in the dark, with this guy, who is the supposed security guard….

It becomes clear this security guy has no idea what I’m talking about. We have the following conversation (in French).

Me: Do you speak french?
Him: Yes, I speak French.

Me: What is your name?
Hi: Yes, I speak French.


For some reason my tennis instructor comes back and I tell him what’s happened. He can tell I’m freaked out. He gives me a number to call for a taxi service (I’m not thrilled about taking a taxi at night…by myself…)
The number he gives me doesn’t work. It’s like everything is going worse – and NOT helped at all by the fact that I AM NOT STAYING CALM. All I can think about is this one guy that was attacked a couple of months ago. It’s ALL I can do but think how I’m probably next. AHH!!! Why did I get so crazy!!

I start going through my phone and dialing numbers that I have in my phone from any driver. No answers.
I start talking again to my tennis instructor and security guard and now, I’m super freaked, and fighting back tears. Okay, maybe a few tears came out. I’m a wimp. I can’t get a hold of anyone, I’m in the dark, - like DARK country road dark - no driver, no money, with people I don’t know.

Possibly a bit dramatic at the moment.

Somewhere while I’m on the phone, the tennis instructor leaves, and I’m left alone with the security guy again. (He brings me no feeling of security … )
I start trying more numbers….I find a driver that I used to have when I first started. He remembers me (he always prayed for me, aparently). He tells me he’ll call me back. Five minutes goes by. He calls me back, gives me the phone number of the big boss of all the drivers. I call the big boss, who tells me he’ll call me back.

It was a total of… 30-45 minutes that I was in the dark….alone…at the port…in the middle of nowhere, with this security guy. Who can’ t speak French (and won’t admit it). I keep trying to speak to him with my broken Malagasy and stammering French. The only thing I can get from him is that he likes to play basketball. Fabulous.

The big boss calls me back, and five minutes later, there is a truck waiting to pick me up. I get in and am sooooooooooo happy to be safe and sound!!

So, where was my driver in all of this? I guess he was at the hospital. It’s a complicated story… well…maybe not really. On Monday, his two year old son got circumsized. Tuesday night (while I was out playing tennis) he had a fever of 40*C (104*F) and my driver was freaking out and (rightfully) took him to the hospital immediately. What he should have done was call his boss who would arrange for another driver to come get me. I can kind of understand how he freaked out and forgot this…. but I was a lot more understanding once I was at home safe.

I know that he got in a bit of trouble for this… Had something happened to me, he would have most likely lost his job. (Isn't that comforting?!)

And me, I should have STAYED CALM AND NOT FREAK OUT!!! There were at least a dozen other people that I could have called, but I completely freaked out!! I wasn’ t thinking properly AT ALL!! I would like to consider myself a rational person…who can deal with stress and/or difficult situations… but certainly did not on Tuesday!! (It was a Tuesday after all ... maybe that explains it?!)

So... I'll try this tennis thing and on Tuesday ... (and will be making my driver stay put the entire time!).