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Lac Rose!

Senegal Sangalkam, Senegal  |  Jan 10, 2009
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January 10, 2009 - Yoff, Senegal - Casa Samb

Ten days have elapsed in this new year. A bright moon has shone. Many young acquaintances have found their way into my life. Myriad bacteria and ailments have I combatted. Much couscous, pain chocolate, and fish (djen) have been consumed.

Today, I had lunch with Casey, Alison, and Amath at a little restaurant only a couple blocks from the Living & Learning Center. Alison and I had djebu yopp (rice with meat), while Casey consumed the popular Ananas soda because she was still recovering from her sickness on thier three hour journey home. I spent the morning writing down some of the same old thoughts about my thesis, eating pain chocolate for breakfast, packing, primping? for the day, and staggering toward Salam`s house, where we finally met our rental car & driver and packed ourselves in. I had the chance to say godbye to Maman, the young girl whose company I had enjoyed thses last couple days, Aymirou, our homestay host, and then Seido, at his house, before we left town. I had chances to use "Merci beaucoup," "Di namba nala," and kind of "Sama harit nga" (though I don`t think Maman heard me).

I made the effort to ask to go to Lac Rose (since the sign said it was only 2 k(m) away, it seemed like such a waste to be there and not go!), even if I had to pay the difference, and what would you know, moody little Christian humored me! Apparently none of the guys had ever been there, either, so I felt both validated and joyed by my upstart request, since I was exposing them to something wondrous and intriguing for the first time, therefore I got to share something and not just experience it selfishly for myself, dragging them along to something that had already lost its appeal long before. All I had to say about Lac Rose was that it was really pink, kind of an orange-ish red. There were boats out far on the lake past the point where a camera zoom coud make them out. There were reeds and banana trees all around, sea shells, or lake shells, making up the "beach." It wasn`t an imposingly large lake, as far as I coudl tell - definitlely much tamer in grandeur than the Great Lakes - maybe more like the sort of thing you`d see in Minnesota or Massachusetts. But very pink, indeed. The guys and I goofed around a bit in its waters and in the general vicinity of Lac rose (documented quite well in photos), before taking off for Dakar - it`s nice to at least be on speaking/goofing terms again -- so lonely when they igrnore me with little or no reason for such dense resentment! The drive to Lac Rose seemed longer than 2 k, but I`m still gald we made the (3000 CFA) journey because it really was too close to pass up experiencing.

The drive back to Dakar was lengthy-ish (short compared to the journeys of all our classmates! - we returend the same tiem as the Mekhe/Mboul group), with packets of filthy polluted/smoggy air, lots of hawkers (selling phone cards, peanuts, lettuce!, bananas (? I can`t remember!), oranges, newspapers - 2 of which Christian bought!, etc.(, lots of time to take pictures, exchange emails with El Hadji (silent "i"), and get political information from him...Spent time catching up with Katie, Jess, Casey, Alison, and finally Artemis, Kazi, and Katie.

After Katie and Jess left, I went to write postcards, sort them out, when a little girl, all smiles, came in and started talking with me (in spite of my horrifying lack of Frenc knowledge/awareness!). She wanted to play with my hair and look at the cards, which I let her do. When she figured out I spoke English, she ran to get her workbook, "My First Footsteps in English," which she guided me through - heh. Her name is something like Mamou--(?) Diallo, but she also goes by Bebe. She was born on October 22, 2008 in Yoff or Dakar so she`s half my age, and yet I spent a very pleasant hour with her in spite of our glaring linguistic incompatibilities.

She redid my ponytail (I thought she was going to braid it, having noticed that she`d used the word "tricature," knitting -- word I recall from Bouguereau titles!), danced around, took pictures with me, went through my bag, found my money, and grabbed a 1000 for pizza -- we then went next door, looked at the menu (but no amount of pizza was less than 2900!), at which point she started saying we should get glace, but I though it was some kind of drink and not worth it; she persisted and dragged me inside, where she grabbed ice cream from a freezer (and so I learned a new word very experientially!), and we got two chocolate-covered vanilla bars, with her exchanging words with the clerk when I failed to produce anything but English, and we went and ate them on the patio, then went back next door, stopping to talk to -- I presume -- her dad, who invited me to on "Saturday" with him to show me around twon (uhh...I was glad he had the day of the week confused, today being Saturday, and told him "maybe" just to get him to stop asking); we went back inside, she went and brought back stickers (one of which is now attached to this notebook), and then we went upstairs and had "translation lessons," her giving both of us "10/10" or "TB" (for Trés Bon) on our "work," before tht relative came and told her it was time to leave...Oh, I also learned "On y`pas" (though I don`t know how to write it, with her dragging me around everywhere; "Let`s go!"..."Legui?"

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