Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Comment dit-ons "lightbulb?"

Here we are downtown, buying electrical items. You can't just search around for the thing you want, unfortunately; you have to ask for it. Describe it somehow. In French. Which, even if you're a very good French speaker (which Eric is), you still might not know the word for 'dimmer,' or 'switchplate.'


We also found the paint store! Well, let's go! Make this white-walled house a home! So,the guy says, you buy this here bucket of white paint, and then you buy the pigments you want and just mix it up! To which I said, ha ha ha ha ah ha haha. We had to mix our own paints in 8th grade art class, and I specifically remember each time ending up with this hideous brown puke color. It's hard! The man seemed to notice our doubtfuul expressions. He said, "For example, if you want grey, you just add some black tint." Oh! (Funny thing is, he told my friend Amber the same thing.)

We did mix our own colors and came up with a very pretty taupe. Then we pained the room. Two hours later, all the paint had been absorbed into the wall and disappeared. Undaunted (well, okay a little daunted), we applied a second coat. Same thing. The cleaning lady came to work on Monday and I said, "Look! We painted the room!" She looked, looked at me, was quiet for a second, and then said, "Are you sure?"

Monday, September 1, 2008


Eric and I really, really wanted a house near the ocean, and particularly near Dakar's one prime surf spot. We decided we didn't have the time to learn how to surf, (which I tried in Mexico and pretty much stunk at, btw. It would have taken a LOT of time for me to learn to surf.) But we both whitewater kayaked in the US, and so Eric bought a new sea surf wave boat thing, and I brought my old and trusty Zwo from Montana, and here we are, a two-minute walk to the sea with our kayaks. It's fun! Some of the waves are kinda big, but mostly they're just gentle and nice. Today we braved "The Back Row," - the really big waves that are far enough away from the shore so that you wouldn't want to swim home. I was a little scared, but it was okay. We did fine!

To offset my Too Cool image, I wear a BASEBALL CAP under my HELMET. (Baseball cap under the helmet is, so my husband has told me, "a total rec boater move." Nevermind that ocean boaters don't wear helmets. But I need it so that I can attach my NOSEPLUGS to it. Nice!)

Normally we go for 60 to 90 minutes a few times per week, and it's just enough to get some exercise (there's no hiking here) and get some fresh air. I don't have any photos of us actually in the boats, but here's one of us resting.


Here's a photo of an unusually quiet day at the beach. Normally all the mats are full and there are at least one or two soccer games going on. (Last weekend there was a wrestling match. We watched for a while as the young men rubbed sand all over themselves and then wrestled one-on-one on the beach; they had spectators and a referee, and there was some order to it. It was interesting, but I couldn't understand the rules or how people were winning. Plus, if it were ME wrestling, I'd rub OIL all over myself. Ha ha ha, can't pin me down!)


As I commence paddling, I have to get myself in my boat on the sand and then wait for a wave to come raise me up a bit as I slide myself into the water. OR, five or so of these little boys (or others like them) will happily "help." They're very cute, although after I'm half floating they usually try to hang onto the stern for a ride. Which never goes very well.


We've tried to go a few times with Dessi, so that one of us watches her while the other surfs, but that's mostly more trouble than it's worth, and it's actually not very fun to surf by yourself. So now we just go when we have a babysitter. (We take her with us on separate trips just for her, though; she loves the beach. She kicks her arms and legs up and down as she realizes where we're going. She loves crawling in the sand, swimming, and even seems okay with getting saltwater in her face. Maybe in a few years, she can teach me to surf!