Simply not cricket

pict0007.jpgThere was a time – I think it was about five hundred years ago – when dreadful puns actually worked. Now, I fear, they are just embarrassing.

The other day, driving back from a bout of traditional Nuba wrestling in Bahri with my boss and her husband, we passed a number of market stalls selling fried crickets by the kilogram. Apparently something of a delicacy in South Sudan.

“I think I’d quite like to try them at some point,” I said in a sudden show of bravado for the ladies present.

My boss, who had already had the cricket experience some years ago, cautioned that the psychological barrier to actually crunching through a dead cricket, eyes and all, was actually a lot harder that it might at first seem. Pfffff, was what I was thinking.

Two days later, Violetta went shopping with a Sudanese friend of hers, and very thoughtfully brought me home a handful of crickets to try. I looked at them, thought briefly about gnawing the head off one, and just couldn’t do it. As I write these words, the crickets are sitting on the edge of my desk, eying me contemptuously. I’m just trying to figure out whether I now chuck them in the bin or devour them. I’ve just finished off an instant noodle, which can’t be that much worse. I thought that writing this blog entry might help me make up my mind.

I am wondering whether last night might, perhaps, exclude me from the cricket-eating experience. Last night, at a friend’s house, I drunk five or six glasses of beer/whisky, without realising that they were laced with hot chilli source. Unsurprisingly, I was feeling quite queasy this morning. The first glass of the chilli concoction had been because I lost at table tennis. The rest were simply consumed because I thought that the chilli I was tasting was simply an aftertaste from the first one. I do have some cruel friends.

No, on reflection, I think it best if I just chuck the crickets. Looking at them, I can feel the chilli repeating on me.


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