blog from chad

Saturday night glimpse Club Coton Chad


It is a hot balmy Saturday evening. I am heading to the Club Coton Chad bar past the murky pool reflected by the dark blue=black sky over the Logone where the sun thankfully went for a swim an hour ago. Maybe it also wants cooling down! The heat of the day (48 C) is still radiating everywhere including my core despite the shower.

Timothy the gardener quietly asks me in his impeccable English whether there was water in the room tonight. I thank him for his efforts and admonish him for favouring the lawn more than the paying guests. Its the first decent shower I have had for 3 days ( and I thought I had problems in Boumou!). Because of the heat the staff have simply been watering the lawns all day thus neglecting to fill the cistern for our rooms and switching the pump over. The result is a shower that flows but halts to a trickle when you have soaped yourself! The second night I took the precaution to wait and see what happens ended up having a perfunctory wash with the little water the Club Cotton Chad allowed room 2.

A young Chadian executive talks loudly on his mobile. Amazingly he is organizing his Christmas party for 2013! It will be in Ndjamena although he is a native from Moundou. He has outgrown Moundou and claims that N’Djamena is the way to go. Another less well dressed young man joins him and orders a beer while his friend continues his arrangements for all to hear. Strangely his T-shirt advertises El Bethel Shalom.  Before I have time to reflect on this, a glamourous lady makes her entrance. And what an entrance! Red tights a black top with gold trim and a huge gold chain belt. Her ears are adorned by enormous gold Christmas trees! Her perfume almost suffocates me 6 m away. She is tall but well sculpted and you cannot miss her- large as life!

El Bethel Shalom greets her very warmly and introduces her to his executive friend. The latter barely has time to socialize as his phone constantly keeps him occupied. El bethel Shalom orders drinks and astonishes all bystanders by proclaiming his love, proudly stating that they have 3 children and then promptly begs her – let’s make a fourth! The perfumed one simply smiles and they wander off hand in hand past the murky pool in the darkness. followed shortly thereafter by our executive still speaking on his Iphone.

Two other regulars  sit at the bar with the chef and Timothy. They work for the Coton Chad Company, eat lunch at the restaurant and I wonder how much work gets done. . They remind me of Laurel and Hardy. They usually have long drawn out conversations Hardy leaning forward while Laurel is draped over his bar stool.They act as if the bar is theirs. They are not as comical as the famous duo but Laurel is on the verge of falling of his perch and then  bursts out laughing. It is a comical cackle which resounds around the grounds – often.

In the meantime a number of Italian pipe welders from Denys saunter in. Seeing their favourite bar occupied by the local glamour they slink off to the dining room. They are 43 in number mainly Italians from Sicily, a few Belgians, a Spaniard and two Germans. You can tell  them a mile off – Typical Denys issue gear- tough light brown leather boots – Denys T shirts and shorts – a sharp contrast to the once aspiring glamour of the Club Cotton Chad bar. They are a mottled mix of all ages. Many find a corner or a table with a nearby power plug. And before long the nether regions of the club cotton Chad are transformed in a cybercafé. Italian chattering outranking the Chadians at the bar. They are all Skyping their families with differing degrees of success. Our broadband is dismal but has become impossible since their arrival. Tigo the local broadband is grinding to a halt.  Our waitresses are kept hopping with beers and food orders all over.

Casimir our sommelier and maitre d’ gets his orders wrong causing many disagreements. He drinks on the quiet and holds his pose well except that his brain gets addled. Diane a friendly buxom waitress gets a lot of attention from the younger customers. Much to the mirth of all, a very volatile Italian youngster grabs her by the shoulders and rattles away in fast Italian convinced that she understands every word. To his astonishment,  she merely blinks and proffers the menu under his nose and walks away . She returns later to take his order. He got the message and points to the items he desires.

After a while only lukewarm beverages are available much to everyone’s chagrin. The staff and fridges simply cannot cope. They shrug their shoulders when tempers flare.

Tempers flare alright especially when the local satellite TV broadcasts European football. By now Denys have reclaimed their bar and lively arguments flare up between the various nationalities based on the football teams they support. Warm beers flow freely.

In the corner I notice a Chadian family arriving intent on a Saturday evening at the Coton Chad club. I count 8 children aged 3 years upwards. All impeccably dressed and well behaved and in awe of these foreigners who have usurped their weekend fun. They hang around the pool and eventually file past us towards the back where our long suffering waitresses have set up a table for them. The Denys  Spaniard remarks Nino?  and looks admiringly at the parents with a big gulp of beer.

I have had enough the heat of the day is still tiring me out and  I retreat to my air-conditioned bedroom. I can still hear all the antics at the bar as my room backs onto the other side of the pool. The cold beer I managed to get earlier with the hum of the airconditioner lulls me to a welcome sleep. Cool at last….


6 Responses to “Saturday night glimpse Club Coton Chad”

  1. Rosie Says:

    Bravo Carlo ……. from one who was there, you have captured the mood around that bar brilliantly and knowing the characters involved you have made me laugh a lot!!! xxx

  2. Paddy Says:

    A riveting read – feel sweaty just reading it! Oh for an ice cool beer in Cabriere Ay!

  3. Jane and Mike Says:

    Carlo-we don’t know how u cope with all this torid excitement,particularly the ”well sculpted” lady-sounds like she was about to concoive again ,having left with him. Nice way to describe her.As L & H fans we could clearly picture L about to fall from the stool Just think,u r going to miss all this Chadian culture & have to put up with the usual down market stuff here-cocerning which we managed a nice accidente hill walk yesterday supported by Your lady wife & her sister,puffing just a little as did the rest of us-lovely day,but not 48deg.They did well despite their great age!(ouch).Jane just back from sunny Stockport tired,having been baby sitting.Things starting to grow in the garden so u better get back soon or her-indoors will have to buckle down & do it all herself-Looking forward to your return so that we ca n start keeping u busy after your ‘Club Med ‘hol’ in Chad.Cheers from us both-Mike/Jane

  4. Nick Says:

    Carlo, When you next need a shower you could always just lie on the lawn! I am worried about the perfumed one: when I lived in Nigeria the bars were stuffed full of a similar clientele (no [pipe welders …) 🙂

  5. monica Says:

    News at last! beginning to wonder whether you had gone native and forgotten all those who hang on your every blog!
    God – the heat………………..we are just back from wintry London – went to Henley in the snow last week!

    See you soon
    Love Mo (Joe watering the garden……………………….)

  6. Amanda and Nick Says:

    Almost felt as if I was sitting at the Bar . . very descriptive . . all that “heat” . . very steamy!! You are going to be giving The No 1 Ladies Detective Agency a run for their money soon. A chatfromchad has to get into book form! Sending you a cooling breeze from the North. Amanda and Nick