Cachupa is Very Filling.

I am walking down the street.

There is a problem- there is an immensely disconcerting problem on my mind.

I am visibly grappling with this problem. I am talking to myself. My arms are moving about as I walk.

My hair is extremely rough. The red dye is beginning to fade. It’s probably due for some retouching.

There is a problem.

It is a foundational conundrum which I believe to have very far-reaching implications on the general domain of Statistical Learning :

It is an issue involving statistical learning models and what I believe to be an unfounded presupposition of input variable completeness.

I look extremely unkempt.

I look like I just emerged from weeks of living alone in the desert with wild animals.

And that is actually true. All except the wild animals part. I really did recently emerge from living alone in the desert.

For some reason there are like no animals in the wild on this island- at least I haven’t come across any. For some strange reason.

Someone is laughing at me. He’s in the grocery store by the left.

It’s Meky. I can tell from his voice.

I’m angry at him for mocking me.

Of course I’m not entirely sure, but I believe I’m the one he’s laughing at. I feel sad about being laughed at, but at the same time I somewhat understand. If I was in his shoes I’d probably laugh at myself too.

Walking about the island like an insane person, with no definite purpose. Wonder why he won’t just get a job. Always having sand in his hair. Talking aloud to himself. Fighting against problems nobody can see. Getting arrested every once in a while. He has a computer that is probably worth a few thousand dollars, but he has neither money nor food to eat. Strange guy. Very very strange guy.

Yeah, I’d most likely laugh at myself too.

Meky is cool though. We met in a restaurant at Espargos earlier in the year. I was there for some breakfast. I still had some money left from the hundred dollars I landed in the country with. That morning he introduced me to Cachupa- Cape Verde’s flagship meal.

It’s very filling.


It was indeed pretty filling.

I like Meky. He’s very tall. Tall and burly. He is like a wall. Like a smiling, brown-skinned wall. I like him.

But he’s pissing me off this afternoon- Why is he laughing at me?

I don’t have time for him and his painful derision right now- I have an illegitimate statistical learning presupposition to worry about.

I need to pay him back his money soon. I’ll feel comfortable enough to really dish him a piece of my mind then.

It’s difficult to properly express annoyance at someone when you’re owing them money. You can’t really say the things you want to say, how you want to say them.

Don’t worry Mister Meky. Wait till I pay you back your fifty euros. Then you’ll know what’s going on.

I needed some money that day. I needed to open a Cape Verdean bank account, and a deposit was required by the bank.

I had recently reconnected with an NGO in Nigeria, and we had just vivified a monthly financial agreement which was hibernated by my travel to the USA for studies a few years earlier.

My Bank of America account was unusable because my balance there was a very negative number.

I had a Nigerian bank account. In fact, I had some money in it. It was to my inestimable dismay however, that I learnt the Central Bank of Nigeria had banned the use of debit cards outside the country- in a bid to somehow prevent a further devaluation of their currency.

And so the little money in that account had been transformed into a sequence of meaningless numbers which could not rescue me from the hunger and general pecuniary anguish I was experiencing.

Oh God, these Nigerian people have struck again. They want me to die in this place.

Meky owns a grocery store.

A grocery store is like heaven when you’re hungry to the core, and you’re like friends with the owner.

He helped me with some direly needed food. He wrote me a cheque for fifty euros after holding on to my GoPro and tripod and other recording gear as collateral.

This is not a GoPro.

He looked at me, with a smirk on his face.

Ah, Meky. GoPro. Chinese GoPro clone. Whatever. Just sign this cheque you this wonderfully benevolent being so I can move forward with my life and not die of frustration in this strange land pls

Thanks to him, it was possible to open the account. The new account still was not usable for the NGO connection though. There was another infuriating complication with international transfers that precluded it’s use for that purpose.

This life and problems.

Meky’s voice is sounding more distant now.

I keep walking, and grappling with this very important problem that no one can see.

Stadtbad Neukölln.

Life is extremely stressful right now.

Life is extremely stressful.

I spent last night communicating via email with the customer service of some telecommunications company in the USA. They have been meticulously effectuating  monthly debits to my Bank of America account.

I have not used their phone in months. But in spite of that, I keep getting their pestilential debits.

There is barely any money in my account. I had to borrow fifty euros from my Argentine flatmate a few weeks ago to get some groceries, while I awaited the arrival of some funds from the HQ in the USA.

Things are tight. Things are pretty tight.

And yet in spite of that, these telecoms people are making unfailing deductions from my already gaunt bank account.

Usually I’m calm and polite when communicating with Customer Service representatives.

I have never used exclamation marks. Or umbrage-inspired pervasive capitalization.

That was until last night.



Life is extremely stressful right now.

Berlin is annoying me. This neighbourhood is so quiet. After a year, I had gotten used to the bustle of Nob Hill. The periodic ringing of the cable cars, and the occasional skateboarder power-sliding down California street. Now the quiet of North-Eastern Kreuzberg feels more like deafness than tranquility.

Some of the roads are also not the best for skateboarding. A guy called out to me at Kottbuser Tor, and expressed his displeasure at this same situation. 

“You’re holding your skateboard in your hand all the time because you can’t really ride it here, its so frustrating”

I definitely saw what he was saying.

A number of major roads are pretty good though- smooth enough. Smooth enough.

I am still trying to get used to this place.

I need to go swimming.

I recently learnt that “swimming pool” in German is “Stadtbad”. I learnt that from looking for proximate swimming pools online.

I found one that seems cool. It’s at Neukölln. Stadtbad Neukölln.

I pick up my swimming trunks which I bought from a roadside trader while in university in Nigeria. I fetch the idle swimming goggles I stole from the poolside at a YMCA in San Francisco.

Time to get to the Stadtbad.

I head out the door while I engage in a cognitive struggle with the worries and pains and anxieties of the romantic relationship I am in, with the perplexities of my current situation and uncertainties of my future in the backdrop.

I am skateboarding down Karl-Marx Straße. I think this is where Google Maps says I need to turn left. I walk up to a woman seated on a chair in a space by the road that looks like an open air cafe with patio umbrellas. I explain that I am trying to get to Stadtbad Neukölln. With a smile, she points me in the right direction. I give her my appreciation.



I am at the pool. It’s an interesting place. Very large hall. The turnstiles at the entrance to the pool almost make me feel like I am at a subway station.

Grey concrete walls. Neoclassical architecture. Extremely interesting environment.

My Chinese GoPro clone is at the end of the hall. I think I’ll do some normal swimming before bringing the camera into the pool.

I swim.

Some weird German guy looks like he’s trying to impress me with his butterfly stroke. He swims over and begins to chat me up, with a sheepish grin on his face. Oh yeah he was definitely trying to impress me with his butterfly.

It was impressive though, it was. It looked really powerful and elegant.

I need to learn that stroke. I have been meaning to learn it for a while. I respond very dismissively to the weird German guy.

I keep swimming.

I’ve brought the “GoPro” into the pool. I am taking underwater pictures and making videos. I am enjoying myself.




I am at the bathroom. Taking a shower. Weird German guy materializes from God-knows-where. Tries fondling my nipples.

I get pissed. I get very pissed, and I express that to him.

I don’t know what’s up with these weird homosexual German guys who keep bothering my life.

I do not know what their problem is.



All in all, it was a good day. It was a very good day at Stadtbad Neukölln.




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