My father had this beautiful map upon one wall of his office in Nigeria. It was one of those hand-drawn, water-coloured things, with the names of stations, villages, rivers, Points Of Interest and sundry other things named in a lovely script.
Truly a marvel of the cartographers art.
On this map the forest surrounding the town in which we lived was labelled “MMBA” in that gorgeous calligraphy.
I, being all of eight years old or so, decided that MMBA was the local name for that particular part of the jungle, and I quite happily told visitors — oil company brass, visiting researchers, Peace Corp idiots, that sort of thing — for a couple of years that Warri was located in the heart of the M’mba forest.
Later I was gently informed that “MMBA” was actually an acronym for “Miles and Miles of Bloody Africa”.
I bring this up because I am returned from a twelve hour — one way — trip to El Paso, Texas to pick up one of our wayward critters.
Goddess knows that I truly love my State — there is no-where quite like Texas, and I revel in that …
… but when you drive ten hours, finally cross a time zone, realize that you still have two hours to go … and understand that no part of this trip involves leaving the State —
Sweet shivering Shiva.
It’s good to be back home.