this morning our brother, Bass woke us up for breakfast. It has been hard to fall asleep at night and wake up in the morning due to the 5 hour time change. we had our usual delicious breakfast of tea and french bread. While our host father visits with his cousin in wolof, I reflect on the fact that I’m actually here in Senegal and I soak it all in. By the way, I might be converted to a tea drinker by the end of my stay here. Their tea, “ataia” is very strong and sweet, as you drink it out of a small shot glass. salut.
let me start by saying that the keyboards (french) are very different and it is taking me two minutes to type this sentence… this will definetly limit the amount of blogging that I do. so it goes…
I am living with Omar Gaye and his family. they couldnt find enough host families in the area so Eric Bixer and I are together.
I will keep it short by saying that the it is definetly “half- speed” here in Senegal. I like it. You walk slow and meander throughout the streets. There aren’t many, if any, traffic laws or signs. it is truly “rules of the road” as beeps, flashing your headlights, and speed bumps control the traffic.
all of the buildings are made of concrete/cement… and I mean everything. it makes sense since the area has alot of sand and quarrys.
I don’t have my camera with me so I cannot upload any pictures. However, there are many on the Goshen SST page so check them out. (The link is above)
p.s. for kicks I will rewrite the first sentence of the blog as if I was using an English Keyboard so you can understand how hard it is to type:
let ,e stqrt by sqying thqt the keyboqrds qre very different here qnd it is tqking ,e tzo ,inutes to type this snetence
At the moment, all of my essential possesions are in a lowe alpine backpack and a llbean daypack. Its a pretty ideal situation if you ask me… a ‘campy’ kind of guy. There are only a few odds and ends along with the dust-bunnies in my room so much of the morning has been spent in the computer lab sending the last ‘pre-trip’ emails.
Naturally, my thoughts shifted towards some advice given to me a week or two ago, “You’re never really there in another country/culture if you still have one foot back in the States.”
This shouldn’t be much of a problem as I am excited about the upcoming travel and meeting new people. At the moment, saying goodbye to ‘home’ wasn’t all that monumental… except for the fact that we arrived at the train station with only 2 minutes to spare.
An hour at an internet-cafe in Dakar costs between 500-1,000 CFA (approx $1). I see myself taking time to journal there about once a week to share my experience. However, I want to keep myself somewhat separated from the culture I know across the Atlantic, not letting emailing and blogging interfere with the limited time that I have overseas. Most journaling will be off-line, handwritten, in a composition book.
I appreciate greatly every comment and email given so far. I read every single one of your encouraging words. I need them as they are a staple in my food for thought.
Thanks again and here’s to the summer!
[raises imaginary glass for a toast]
Blues Traveler makes some good driving music.
anyhow, I made it home with a liter of mountain dew, and 3 coffees. one of the coffees was free at 4am. thank you flying J! the trip also had some interesting events including hitting morning traffic in buffalo while in the middle of a caffiene buzz/nutrition withdrawl. to solve this i drank alot of my nalgene water and ate chex mix. 10 minutes later i was in the middle of nowhere between Buffalo and Rochester and had the need to stop like no other… coffee is a diuretic, therefore bold coffee is a bold diuretic thankfully, i made it. it was a looooong 24 miles.
due to my french prep for senegal (leaving in 5 days) i had a revelation of what the quebec license plates mean. it involved some grammar from one of our recent chapters. “Je me souviens” means “I remember.” speaking of french, the final exam was awful… o well. its over and i’m looking forward to speaking the language for over 3 months. I’m much better at speaking it than taking a frivolous 14 page exam.
I think i’m going to finish reading “into the wild” tonight, by jon krakauer. good book… read it.
I’m not used to seeing the wind-turbines (each 260ft in the air) scattered around the “home-land.” they’re monsterous. the sight of clean energy is magnificant and beautiful.
edit: clearly, the wind-farm and lloyds are only some of the reasons why i love upstate ny.
climbing in kentucky was amazing.
you could go the entire day and night without worry about the temperature, just chilling in a t-shit and pants day and night. at times it got hot and sweaty but we welcomed it. the red river gorge area has huge rock all over. may locations ranging in 5.8-5.12 which was perfect for our group. i learned how to lead sport climb and clean. its good stuff. before i used to just top rope in the adirondacks since their are solid tree anchors at every single route and no bolted climbs.
anyhow… we took in the experience, including a stay at a one room cabin w/ no running water, electricty or even latch on the door. you can’t argue with free though. the cabin was on a ridge that over looked mirror valley and beatiful dogwood trees coming into bloom.
we’d stop every now and then a miguels, the climber hang-out of red river. a small ‘pizza shop’ that caters to the climbing community by selling gear, a cheap $2 campground outback complete with a free pavilion/outdoor kitchen area and basketball hoop. the dining area is small and furnished with school bus seats and plywood tables. no matter… a local glass bottled beverage, ale 8, hits the spot for 75 cents.
i have 3 more days of finals in Goshen before going home for a few days before leaving for senegal next tuesday. don’t wait to do a paper until the day that it is due… bad choice.
1 more day of class
2 weeks until boarding air france.
32 song plays for “please don’t tell her” by Jason Mraz
980 rpm average idle speed of janelle (my diesel jetta)
68 degree average temperature this week
60 dollars, price willing to pay to see penn state vs. notre dame in september
120 hours spent in the ER this semester
540 CFA in one dollar
4 witnessed deaths in 2 months
16 minutes remaining in my laundry cycle
“go liver go!”
“penn state sucks”
“i’m slapping my face…”
’twas a happy b-day for joel
the highlight of the day so far was eating strawberry shortcake.
i’m pretty sure that it will stay that way.