Paris et mon anniversaire

So, unbelievably, one month ago, i was in Paris. Wah? Honestly—people say it all the time, yadda, but—time passes so quickly. So i guess, before time gets away from me and i start to have to blog about how i’m leaving Senegal in T-minus 25 days (again, wah), i should chat a little bit about my time in ol’ Paris.

So, a big thing that colored the trip for me was that i was completely alone (save the first day, when i met with my bud Laurel, and the last day, when i met some friend from Women Writing for (a) Change in Cincinnati for dinner (yup, time passes quickly and the world is small)). Completely alone after spending two weeks straight with Avery traveling and chilling and eating and talking and all. So, perhaps needless to say, i was pretty sad and lonely some of the time. Not so much during the day, when i kept busy exploring, but when evening began to fall, i wished really hard for someone to debrief the day over dinner with. It was tough, but in a sense it was also liberating, and sort of felt like a good “fast,” a period of contemplation on the cusp of the new year.

corner of notre dame

corner of notre dame

well, yeah

well, yeah

statue in jardin des tuileries

statue in jardin des tuileries

That aside, i saw many things. If you’ve been following this blog you may recall the handful of days i spent alone in Copenhagen in September, and i recall that i ended up not doing a whole bunch of exploring. The same cannot be said of my solo trip to Paris. I visited many museums and landmarks, including le Musée d’Orangerie (art museum featuring Monet’s waterlilies, breathtaking), le Musée de Cluny (medieval history, so cool), Notre Dame (i was a little scandalized that we were allowed to tour the church while a mass was taking place), the Opera Garnier (setting, of course, of The Phantom of the Opera, the story with which i was heavily obsessed in junior high and what made my trip to Paris feel as much like a pilgrimage as a vacation), and the Parisian catacombs (also POTO-related and just generally goth and awesome).

chapel at the cluny

chapel at the cluny

tapestry depicting the education of the virgin mary, cluny

tapestry depicting the education of the virgin mary, cluny

famous lady and the unicorn tapestry set, cluny

famous lady and the unicorn tapestry set, cluny

ossuary in the catacombs

ossuary in the catacombs

entrance to ossuary; "stop! here is the empire of the dead"

entrance to ossuary; “stop! here is the empire of the dead”

tunel of the catacombs

tunel of the catacombs

subterranean water #poto

subterranean water #poto

grave at cimetìere de passy

grave at cimetìere de passy

passy

passy

grate at the opera garnier #poto

grate at the opera garnier #poto

lovely ceiling at opera house

lovely ceiling at opera house

opera house

opera house

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mossy grave at passy

mossy grave at passy

me geekin at the opera

me geekin at the opera

chandelier at the opera house #poto

chandelier at the opera house #poto

notre dame

notre dame

notre dame

notre dame

Also kept myself bien amusée by seeing Skyfall and The Hobbit, drinking kirs pêches (white wine mixed with peach liqueur) at a café near my hostel after the day’s wanderings, reading one of the numerous books i’d bought in Paris/acquired from Avery before her departure, and just wandering around Paris. Now that i reflect on it a bit, i realize one of the things that i liked the most about being in Paris was the freedom: i could get to wherever i wanted to be using a map, or by looking up the address on the Internet. I liked being able to just wander around and be able to just hop on a Metro if i got too lost. Navigation has actually been an unforeseen challenge of my time in Dakar. Because street names change frequently, and businesses often close or change locations, the addresses you find online for a restaurant or whatever are often incorrect—if you could even find one in the first place. Add to this the fact that i’m pretty bad at getting around and the result is me being too lazy/afraid to try to find places on my own. So, it was nice to spend some time in a place where i was reasonably competent in getting where i wanted to go.

at musée de cluny

at musée de cluny

cluny

cluny

common cheap lunch for me: extremely sharp cheddar and avocado on a hard roll. not exactly french, but delicious.

common cheap lunch for me: extremely sharp cheddar and avocado on a hard roll. not exactly french, but delicious.

best falafel sandwich of my life. of my life!

best falafel sandwich of my life. of my life!

delicious apple pie laurel made on my first night in paris

delicious apple pie laurel made on my first night in paris

Six days isn’t a lot of time for Paris, but i found myself pretty unstressed by it, as i anticipate returning in the future, hopefully multiple times. I don’t think it was my kindred city—way too fashionable, ha—but i loved it quite a lot.

 

Also, it was my birthday the other day.

Not my first birthday away from home, but my first out of the country. I went to the beach with Fiona and my new co-American, Gerrit (and went in the ocean even though it was freezing!), listened to Fleetwood Mac, went downtown for dinner with my friends at an Indian restaurant (called Indiana, ha), had my customary peanut butter birthday cake (courtesy of Julia and Laurel), and went to the bar. All in all, not such a bad day.

never thought i'd be seeing this on a birthday of mine

never thought i’d be seeing this on a birthday of mine

happy after diving into the freezing water

happy after diving into the freezing water

birthday dinner

birthday dinner

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paneer tikka masala

paneer tikka masala

me and gerrit

me and gerrit

mah plate

mah plate

ca$h

ca$h

peanut butter cake!

peanut butter cake!

the cooks

the cooks

blowing out a lighter instead of candles

blowing out a lighter instead of candles

eating cake around the bowl

eating cake around the bowl

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we actually managed to eat the whole thing

we actually managed to eat the whole thing

Even though i missed the States/Avery/home/other friends, it came down to being surrounded by people who care about me, and who i care about, and that’s all i can really ask for. Thanks for making it a wonderful birthday, friends!

Parfait Portugal, redux

After reading my rather cursory entry on our trip to Portugal, Avery suggested i do a second, more in-depth post, which seems like a good idea in retrospect; it was too great to gloss over in one brief entry. So, here are some of my favorite things we did during our week in Portugal.

Pena National Palace, the Castle of the Moors, and the Hill in Sintra

When we arrived in Sintra, a small town 15 miles from Lisbon where many monarchs/rich people of the past kept palaces, mansions, etc., one of the first things we noticed was the massive hill that stood as the backdrop of the small town, a hill crowned by a thick covering of mist. We wondered aloud what could be on the top of the hill, if anything. As the day wore on, the mist slowly parted to reveal a huge castle perched on the top of the hill: grey brick, curtain walls topped with crenellations (which form that familiar rook-like sawtooth pattern), turrets, the whole she-bang. From our bit of knowledge of the area, we realized that this was the famed castle the Moors had built in the 8th and 9th centuries—and one of the sights we planned to visit. Needless to say, i was less than happy to discover what a steep hike it would be, but in a matter of hours from our first sighting of it, Avery had us laboring our way up the hill toward the austere castle (i’d only made it that far because i’d been lead to believe that we were headed for a pastry shop (which, to A’s credit, we originally were, but once we discovered we were instead on our way to the castle, she didn’t allow to stop and actually find said pastry shop)).

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a mystical well at the foot of the hill

Friends, the walk was long. And steep. It led us up through a little neighborhood complete with a church and restaurant, then suddenly shaded into a forested area more reminiscent of the jungle or the American deep south than what i’d vaguely imagined Portugal to be like. The foliage was thick and dark green, dark grey boulders dotted the landscape, the air was misty and moist and quiet, and no one else was around. We felt like we were in a fairy tale, especially when we diverged slightly from the path to further explore the forest.

me peaking into a little cave

me peaking into a little cave

pathway

pathway

me standing on the curtain wall!

me standing on the curtain wall!

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After thirty or so minutes of further struggle (and pausing along the way to munch some digestive biscuits), we reached the Moorish castle in all its grave glory…to discover that there wasn’t actually much more to see of it, and that what we actually wanted to tour was a palace even farther up, called the Pena, constructed in the 19th century.

So farther up we went.

lovely art in Pena

lovely art in Pena

shell-encrusted archway in Pena

shell-encrusted archway in Pena

It was worth it for the palace and all, sure, but perhaps what i liked most about having done this was standing back down in the town of Sintra (finally eating some much deserved custard pastries), looking up at the castle far up on the hill, and being able to say, “Yeah. We walked all the way up there.”

The Monastery of São Vincente de Fora in Lisbon

This monastery, which we visited on our second day, i think, in Lisbon, neatly encapsulated heaven and hell, if i may be so dramatic. When we arrived, it was grey and rainy, and we didn’t see any other tourists until the very end. The monastery itself was a nice one, home to monks during the 17th century, well-decorated with the standard Portuguese tile. But there was also something very creepy about the atmosphere…maybe it was the weather, or the fact that no one else was around, but as we gazed into the old cistern of the place, all i could think about was the survival horror video game Amnesia that i’ve been mildly obsessed with since my first year of college. (Never heard of it? Look. It’s terrifying.)

Scary cistern

Scary cistern

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This sense of dis-ease only increased when we reached the area of the monastery that housed numerous tombs of the monks, kings, and other holy figures, i’m sure. And, you know, i wouldn’t say i’m put off by death or other dark things just on principle, but…it was rather creepy to be all alone in this old monastery with the corpses of many monks only separated from you by some wood and marble.

Also, there were things like this.

wtf. i'm not completely sure this particular effigy was in this particular monastery, but i can sure you that one did exist there.

wtf. i’m not completely sure this particular effigy was in this particular monastery, but i can sure you that one did exist there.

Has anyone else ever seen something like this? I was born and raised Catholic and never in my life had i seen a death effigy of Jesus such as these, but we saw several while in Portugal.

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deserted

Things came to a peak when we entered a second room full of caskets—to be confronted directly with this creepy figure shrouded in white standing by one of the tombs.

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Now, tell me that’s not frankly terrifying.

The two of us stood in the doorway of the room, unwilling to step in further and meet what was beginning to feel like certain doom at the hands of the mourning specter.

Avery turned to me and said, quite casually, “Welp, i don’t know about you, but i’d be fine if we didn’t go in there.”

I nodded; we beat a hasty retreat.

I mean, obviously it was a statue or something, but…better safe that sorry, n’est-ce pas?

this could've been us

this could’ve been us

Things took a dramatic turn from there. From the creepy, quasi-hellish lower level we decided to climb up to the roof of the building to see the bell tower. And that, my friends, was magic.

IMG_8001

Allow me to muse on beauty for just a moment. Before i met Avery, i was not a very aesthetically-oriented person. It’s not that i would never find things beautiful, of course, it’s just when looking at something—be it a painting, a building, or a mug—my first thought wouldn’t be whether or not it was attractive or well-designed. But i’m happy to report that after several years of hanging around Avery and her family, i have a much more developed sense of what is beautiful—and, more to the point, what i find beautiful, and can now more easily appreciate said beauty.

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And this view was so beautiful. The sun hung low in the sky and despite the abundance of thick cumulus clouds, it poured golden light all over the roof of the monastery, and everything else around us. On one side we were bordered by Lisbon, its hills and terra cotta roofs; on the other, by the sea. And standing there looking out over it all, it felt like i was seeing everything that could be seen. It all felt so vast and expansive, and i was smack dab in the middle of it all, just a speck(tator).

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It was the only time i’ve ever been moved to tears by beauty.

The Lisbon Oceanarium

On a more lighthearted note, we went to the aquarium!! I love aquariums. They tie with planetariums for my favorite entertaining/educational facility/outing. Just like outer space ties with the ocean for my favorite realm! Ain’t that funny, tho. And Lisbon’s aquarium is hella nice; the second largest one in Europe, our guidebook described it as less of a series of separate tanks than like walking into the ocean itself, and that was very true. The museum was designed radially around a huge common tank filled with all sorts of creatures, and that central tank was flanked by various special exhibits, including sea turtles, puffins, and sea otters!

exterior of aquarium

exterior of aquarium

jelly art

jelly art

Gah!

Gah!

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Sea otters so cute!

Sea otters so cute!

me and avery's friend lauren watching the birdz

me and avery’s friend lauren watching the birdz

really big ugly fish

really big ugly fish

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art in the lobby of the oceanarium

art in the lobby of the oceanarium

The aquarium was nothing short of delightful, along with pretty much every other aspect of the Portugal trip.

Parfait Portugal

Ed. note: All but two of these photos are courtesy of Avery. Thanks boo!

Lisbon was the first city i felt a kindred connection to immediately—or maybe even period. As soon as i walked out of the metro station and beheld the city, its white stone and hilly streets and pastel buildings and delicate tiles, i was swept away. Add reuniting with Avery after a three month separation and i was sold.

Us

Us

The next days were a beautiful blur of so many great things: art, gorgeous old churches, breathtaking views, strenuous walks to said breathtaking views, green wine, The Worst (meaning best) Chocolate Cake in the World, ginjinha (sour cherry liqueur unique to Portugal), fun and reasonably priced shopping, mystical castles and gardens, leisurely meals, pastel de nata (custard tarts with caramelized sugar topping), Europe’s second-biggest (and incredibly amazing) aquarium, and Avery—tho, of course, she’s not a thing.

Delicious vegetarian buffet restaurant (Terra)

Delicious vegetarian buffet restaurant (Terra)

The Worst (ha) Chocolate Cake in the World

The Worst (ha) Chocolate Cake in the World

Delicious tagliatelle with cheese sauce and roasted pistachio

Delicious tagliatelle with cheese sauce and roasted pistachio

Coming from Dakar, where every day is 75 degrees and sunny even in the midst of December, i was pretty nervous about facing winter as i’ve always known it, but Lisbon turned out to be pretty comfortable. (The cold was to come later, in Denmark. Oh, Denmark.) Ave and i walked pretty much everywhere unless pressed for time, which gave us plenty of opportunities to happen upon things we otherwise would have missed.

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Lovely

Lovely

The Moorish castle on top of the hill-mountain in the magical town of Sintra

The Moorish castle on top of the hill-mountain in the magical town of Sintra

Avery in a purely mythical landscape

Avery in a purely mythical landscape

One of my favorites was this cat in a window along a busy street. It was sort of laying in the sill on the inside and it was wearing a Christmas themed collar. Being the invasive cat lover that i am, i took it upon myself to reach into the window to pet the cat, realizing as i did so that an old woman was sitting inside the room, working at a sewing machine. Expecting to be reprimanded, i hesitated, but instead of smacking my hand away from her home and her cat, the woman became very animated and held up one finger, asking me to wait. After rummaging beneath her desk for a moment, she withdrew a cat-sized santa hat, picked up the cat (who had for some reason suddenly adopted a dour expression), jammed it onto his head, and began sort of making him dance by standing him up and moving his front legs in some vague rhythm, all the while laughing and speaking rapid Portuguese—all for my benefit. It was a beautiful moment.

Basically, Lisbon is all i can ask for in a city, and both Ave and i were very sad to leave, especially because that leaving entailed facing the frigidity of the great white north. But i suppose that’s the price you pay for having a once in a lifetime Danish Christmas. Avery’s host family was kind enough to invite us into their celebration of the holiday, and even though it was unsurprisingly strange to spend Christmas with a family other than your own, let alone other than your own nationality, it was a lovely experience. The majority of the rest of our time in Denmark was spent taking wintry walks, watching movies, cuddling, eating, and sitting by the fire. Very much appreciated.

Now, Avery has returned state-side (completely bizarre) and i am spending six days alone in Paris before returning to Senegal for my remaining two months there. A post on Paris, the city i’ve wanted to visit since circa age six, before too long.

Deux fêtes (warning: some graphic photos)

October 26 marked this year’s Tabaski, a celebration of Abraham’s loyalty to god which he demonstrated by almost killing his son Isaac/Ismeal at God’s request. Tabaski is a huge holiday in Islam celebrated by purchasing new, nice clothes, eating a big meal, being charitable, and slaughtering a sheep/cow/goat in commemoration of the sheep that ended up getting scarified instead of Isaac/Ismeal. You can probably imagine that i had feelings about sheep getting slaughtered in the courtyard of my family’s house, right outside of my bedroom door, as it were. Not only am i a vegetarian, i’d also never seen an animal slaughtered in person.

My mom told me past host students had avoided watching the slaughter, but i resolved to watch the whole process very closely. It was a matter of principle: shouldn’t i be familiar with something i’m so vehemently against? And besides, the slaughter is more or less the focal point of the holiday, from what i observed, so i think i would have felt sort of disingenuous if i’d skipped it. And while i expected the killing to be an upsetting but pretty straightforward experience, it turned out to be a whole lot more perplexing and evocative than i thought, and not even because of my personal politics. As it turns out, i find it generally very affecting to watch a living creature die—or, more accurately, get killed. That was what got me the most: watching the eyes of the sheep after their throats had been slit, seeing them struggle, trying to breathe, and eventually giving up.

I stood right among the men my family hired to butcher the animals, observing and taking photos. I didn’t cry, but i did feel faint a few times, not so much from disgust as just being purely overwhelmed at the scene before me, which intersected life and death in a way i’d never quite experienced before.

And just for the record, i find the practice of slaughtering one’s own sheep to be refreshingly honest. Anyone who’s ever celebrated/participated in Tasbaki knows exactly what goes into meat eating, and is free to make their own judgements from that knowledge. So while i abstained from the barbecued ribs my family smashed on a few hours after the slaughter, i didn’t feel any particular ill will toward them for partaking.

The other holiday i celebrated was less thought-provoking but just as powerful and, for me, slightly more lovely: Thanksgiving! Thanksgiving is my absolute favorite holiday, and this past one being both my first without my family and my first abroad, i wanted it to be special. “Special” ended up translating into spending a lot of money on imported ingredients like cheddar for mac and cheese and fresh cream for green bean casserole, but hey, it only comes once a year. I also managed to slap together a sweet potato caramel pie (made out of the infuriatingly mysterious white Senegalese sweet potatoes), which i was pretty proud of. We did a potluck-style celebration at our friend Tim’s apartment, complete with the aforementioned dishes, apple pies, roast chicken, stuffing, homemade rolls, bissap sauce (Wolof word for hibiscus, which is really popular here), mashed potatoes, gravy, roast veggies, and two types of salad. Naar na lool. Everyone had more than enough, and everything tasted so much like America.

Even though i missed my loved ones at home, i couldn’t really ask for a better celebration with my family of friends in Dakar—complete with imported New England foliage!

Des pensées

A few weeks ago, our group was led on a trip to Richard Toll by one of our professors, a rural area in northern Senegal on the shore of the Senegal River, which we’ve been studying since arriving here. The week involved a lot of visits to various agricultural concerns in the area, including rice, milk, and sugar (we ate sugar cane cut fresh out of the ground!). Nino, Fiona and i also shared a lovely host family who didn’t have electricity (not nearly as inconvenient as i’d expected) and who did have two adorable kittens, one of which i fell in love with. Because the house had no AC or fans, Fiona and i frequently opted to sleep outside on mats beneath a huge mosquito net, and our family was cute enough to stick the kittens in the net with us. But! I can’t start talking about that or i’ll become mired in a perhaps premature nostalgia. So let’s talk about other things. Serious Things:

Our trip also included a visit to a tiny, traditional rural village maybe an hour outside of the already very small town of Richard Toll. The politics of a group of predominantly white Americans showing up to a small village—and being unable to communicate directly with the villagers, as they spoke Pulaar and we’ve been learning Wolof—made a lot of us in the group uneasy, especially since we hadn’t had a discussion about those politics/the dynamics that ensued beforehand. (When we tried to bring this up with our professor post-trip, a whole slew of cultural misunderstandings ensued, which in itself was an interesting experience: while a professor at, say, K, would have been all over a reflective discussion on the racial dynamics/subtext of such a visit, our prof here didn’t seem to see much merit in such a discussion, especially when we explained that we weren’t particularly looking for answers from him or anyone else, that we just wanted to explore our thoughts. Very interesting difference in pedagogy.)

Anyway, i don’t at all regret the visit, which was fascinating and enriching. I just wish we’d had some sort of discussion beforehand, which i think could have helped curtail some of the dis-ease i felt while visiting. A big source of this discomfort had to do with taking photos: i was having an experience extremely unique to studying abroad in Senegal, and was surrounded by a bunch of very beautiful people. Of course i wanted to take pictures of them, especially given my fledgling interest in photography. But it felt…weird. It felt exploitative, and voyeuristic, and rude. But was it? I couldn’t tell if these sentiments were just paranoia, or general anxiety, or knee-jerk liberal/privileged guilt that, while well-intentioned, didn’t really hold water. For a while, i was frozen in my uncertainty. But eventually i was overwhelmed with desire to capture my surroundings and, upon showing the villagers Stesha’s camera (which she was kind enough to allow me to use) and receiving smiles and nods in return, photographed to my heart’s content.

I wasn’t going to let myself off that easy, though. That afternoon, as Fiona and i lay in our hotbox of a bedroom for a brief sieste, i decided to spin some Socratic method: Why did i feel bad about taking pictures? Because it reeked of colonialism/exploitation/othering/objectification/exoticizing, and other nasty things i didn’t want a part in. Well, was it colonialism or exploitation if i wasn’t going to derive any benefit from the photos except a preserved memory? Was it objectifying if permission had been asked and eagerly been granted (the villagers, especially the children, had clamored to get into group shots once the discussion part of the visit was over)? Was it exoticizing if i’d have done the same thing in, say, any other group of people i was meeting for the first time who had invited me to their home for an interesting experience?

I had to say no. Yet, even though i could find no objections to the photo session intellectually, i still feel a strange anxiety in my gut about it. Maybe i’m just worrying too much, but i’m reluctant to shrug this uneasiness off: this was one of the very first experiences of real discomfort i’ve had as an American abroad—not just a vague sense of not-belonging/otherness, which i’ve felt since arriving, but true discomfort born from facing my privilege, legacy, and reputation as an American head-on, particularly in a post-colonial context. So, even if i’m making too much of these photos, i’d rather make too much than too little. I’m sharing them here because i trust that whoever who reads my blog knows i post them with the best of intentions and a lot of consideration and respect for the subjects.

La nourriture

*Okay, this isn’t a very serious or informative update. But i promise a very pensive entry is pending. Just sit tight and listen to me talk about food for a while.

So, as both an ardent eater and an ardent cook, food has simultaneously been one of the most exciting and challenging parts of my time in Senegal. As discussed previously, i’ve been obliged to break my five years of vegetarianism to fully assimilate here. (Tho it appears that my resolve on this front is crumbling—my non-meat eating ways are becoming increasingly known in my family as time marches on, resulting in a great deal of mystified amusement on the part of my fam, and some relief on mine. My papa no longer barks, “Il faut que tu manges” when i take only vegetables from the pot/bowl, and my mama is fond of joking, “Tiguida likes anything without meat” when one of the maids asks me if i’m enjoying one of the veggie entrees in the typical dinner rotation (i.e. spaghetti, omelette, and ketchup, or millet porridge with soured milk/thin yogurt), to which i respond, “C’est vrai!” (end ridiculously long aside)).

Eating ethics aside, Senegalese cuisine is generally very different from American. For one thing, at least in my family, it is more or less exclusively Senegalese fare. While we could bounce between, say, French, Korean, American, and Mexican cuisines in one day alone Stateside, my family has only had one markedly non-Senegalese meal during my close to two months here. So even though i personally find the flavors of Senegalese food pretty favorable, the major food flaw to me is repetition. Day in, day out, it’s a variation on rice, fish (or sometimes meat (beef or sheep) or chicken), a select few veggies (carrot, cassava, onion, and cabbage, mostly), and various sauces, and palm oil. Another common critique is the absence of fresh produce, both veggies and fruit. In the States, i’ll almost always opt for a veggie burger or pasta over a big salad, but honesty, some crisp romaine, cherry tomatoes, grated carrot, sliced radish, maybe some black beans, and a nice lemony vinaigrette…well, that sounds like heaven right now. But anyway! Let’s stick to the matter at hand. Which is not salad.

This morning, our first class was canceled in honor of the Tabaski holiday tomorrow, and, unlike the past two months, my breakfast was not ready on a tray upon my awakening (yes, i’m spoiled here), so i thought, hey, why not take this chance to cook some breakfast, like the good ol’ days? Entering the kitchen, i sized up my options. Potatoes. Onions upon onions. Eggs. Ketchup. Hm. If i sent my little brother to the boutique for some Laughing Cow cheese (the most readily available cheese[food]), i could whip up some nice hash browns alongside scrambled eggs with cheese, and smother it all with ketchup—a “dish” i’d sardonically refer to as Amuriken Breakfust in the caf during my first year of college. Yeah! This was the perfect opportunity to take a break from the oh-so-delicate Senegalese breakfast of baguette with chocolate spread.

So i got to work. Chopped the potato and onion with a paring knife on a tray (yeah), fried the tubers up in palm oil, whisked the eggs with some salt and filtered water in a little bowl. And just as i started scrambling the eggs with the wedge of Laughing Cow in the residual heat from the hash browns, Papa came into the kitchen and placed some bread on the counter, indicating it to me. So i hadn’t escaped the morning pain after all. Well, what should i do now? I didn’t want to ignore the bread and seem rude or ungrateful. Maybe i could take it and offer it to my classmates as a pre-lunch snack (yeah). But then again…wouldn’t the hash browns and eggs and cheese and onions and ketchup be so good sandwiched between the skinny-soft baguette with its shattering crust?

Dammit.

Why dammit, you ask? Well, my friends, this so-called Amuriken Breakfust had just turned into a deliciously ubiquitous Senegalese street food, le sandwich omelette, available at food stands, boutiques, and street tents all over Dakar for between 400-700CFA ($.80-$1.20). And once the thought of cramming my lovingly prepared vittles into a split baguette occurred to me, i was powerless to stop it. So much for having a moment of American food nostalgia.

Can’t say i really regret it, doe…

ñaax naa

à Dakar

Today, we took a tour around the various parts of Dakar with one of our professors. Lots of picture-taking ensued (at long last); the products follow. Yes, this is a lazy post, but i actually have homework to do, and have been too busy all weekend to attempt it; on Friday, i had a sleepover with two girls from my program, then was downtown for much of Saturday and made pancakes for my family that evening (they were well-received!). And today we had the tour and i fell asleep for 2.5 hours after lunch, then Skyped Avery for another 2 hours or so. I’ve also spent a lot of time watching/thinking about Brokeback Mountain, which i’ve become rather obsessed with (at this oh so inopportune point in time). So yeah, i think it’s time to point my nose in the direction of the grindstone. Enjoy the pix!