The first few days were spent getting in order. We’re still far from done but at least we’re getting there. Both Anette and I have unpacked our things (that is, I still have a suitcase full of horse equipment left on the floor…) and that feels like an achievement. On Friday afternoon, after several hours of hard work cleaning the kitchen, we went for a walk before sunset… Though I hadn’t planned on it, we ended up going to Ali’s, where I, to my great delight, found Arwen in an even better shape than when I left her! She had grown in size and it was much more than her pregnancy – in fact, she looked like a brand new horse! And that explained to me why the fodder hadn’t lasted, because this horse had been eating a lot more than one month of salary during the time I had been away!
Ali wasn’t home, so we then went over to Josef and Renate, where we planned my father’s birthday the following day. He had said beforehand that he didn’t have the energy for any celebration, and, seeing that it’ll be my turn tomorrow, I sincerely understand him, but at that point, we didn’t just want to let it go unnoticed – despite the fact that the house was pretty much up and down. So Josef, Renate and Tabita sneaked in at eight thirty and we woke him up in bed. With presents and chocolates. It ended up being a nice, calm day…
On Sunday afternoon, Anette and I went to the race track. Although it was in the middle of the Ramadan feast, there were only two races – mostly with novice horses.
Everyone asked for Arwen and I was surprised by the number of people that had gone to see her when I was away. Now why would they do that? It turned out that I have set a new trend in Zinder. Last year, when I got Arwen, they didn’t believe that mares could run. I never really understood the commotion when Arwen showed herself at practice but in retrospect, it was their aha-moment. Mares actually do run… E.I. happily informed me of all the horse owners that had followed my example and purchased mares themselves and I couldn’t help myself but to say: “But I thought you guys said mares couldn’t run!”
“Yes, but that was before we saw the success you had with Arwen!”
Lol… So my “secret” is out and Arwen will be getting more female competition… It doesn’t matter because I didn’t buy her to watch her run. However, if her reputation is such that her foal will sell at a high price, then I’ll be very satisfied. Maybe my little hobby won’t be that expensive after all… J
Now as for the social mingling, Zinder’s race track is a funny place where you meet all the who’s who of town together with their entourage. And I noted another interesting thing about
“Is that really you Ishtar or is it a look-alike?” E.I. said when he saw me. As if he didn’t recognize me… He just couldn’t meet my gaze and therefore was afraid of making a fool of himself! Imagine if I had turned my back on him or something; people would have talked about that for ages…
I guess this is one of the reasons why I love the racetrack so much. You have everybody’s eyes on you (they know all the gossip there is to be told about you, your horse, your horse keeper and your jockey) which means that you can actually make an imprint by turning their hierarchical system upside down. When I see Ali, who is “just” a horse keeper, I shake his one hand with both my hands, which is a great sign of respect. When I pass The Goldman however, one of the most influential men in this city (who wanted to date me when I was sixteen and obviously hasn’t changes his mind), I only nod in his direction and he cannot even be sure that my nod was meant for him.
The Goldman however is not one to be put off, so in this case, he waited for his opportunity and when I followed E.I. out in the fields to have a look at a horse of his that had fallen in, the Goldman was quick to follow. Last year, I got so irritated by the fact that he was constantly following me around and intruding on my society, but now I have gotten used to it. The fun part is that because of his interest in me (whether that be as a female, a European or a human – I am still not sure) he is now conversing with people beneath him and everybody is watching him. Because he rarely gets my attention, he puts on all his charm towards whoever I am speaking to and other people take after his example. So we are setting a new trend, just like with the racing mares… J
And I must admit that although I cannot make him leave even if I would wish to, I have a lot of fun putting him in place. Nobody does that to a rich man but I have nothing to gain from him, so why should he be more than my equal? I may be a woman but humor with a touch of stinging sarcasm (well aimed, of course!) gain a lot of respect in this society. I really don’t understand why he so desperately wants us to be friends because I am rarely nice to him (or should I say gentle with him?). It always ends with a small crowd of people laughing at him and I always find a weak spot in everything that he says. He is persistent though and for that, I must give him credit for. But if teasing him can make him a better person as well, then why not? After all, he does listen to a lot of the things that I tell him and he often comes back to show me that this or that has changed. Personal development – just my favorite…
That said, time has now flown away and I’d better be off in order to get some rest…