Archive for the 'Yuck' Category

96.8?

Sunday, February 17th, 2008

I guess I’d sort of stopped thinking about it.  Surprising, really…

February is the coolest month in Dakar.  Temperatures have been downright tolerable, although after you’ve been out walking around for a while you still get sweaty and tired.  Yeah, I’ve been checking the weather regularly on the internet, but today for the first time since my arrival i actually thought to convert all those lovely little celsius figures to fahrenheit.

Accordingly, temperatures this week are ranging from 84.2 all the way to 96.8.  Just when I thought I was understanding my surroundings…I guess my body is more adjusted than I realized.  Wasn’t I just thinking that things were bordering on cold?  Especially at night, when the temperature drops to the 70s and sometimes even the 60s?

And then the shock hit me with the force of an overpacked Ndiaga Ndiaye.  I’m going to FREEZE when I go back to Michigan.

Unrelatedly, I’ve been “wasting” increasing amounts of time reading the news.  I usually glance briefly at the New York Times headlines, then spend a while digging through BBC.  I suppose it’s a good habit, really, and it leaves me with the urge to do this at the end of every post:

Ouch

Ouch
Ouch

Ouch

Ouch 

Included for the sake of its strangeness

Etc.

A Typical Taxi Ride in the Streets of Dakar

Sunday, February 3rd, 2008


IMG_7040

Originally uploaded by mouse.courtois

M: Asalaa Maalekuum – Hello
TD: Maalekuum Salaam – Hello
M: Na nga def? – How are you?
TD: Man ngiy fii. – I am here.
M: Man ngiy dem Point E; Piscine Olympique – I’m going to Point E, to the Olympic swimming pool.
*insert bargaining here*
TD: Fan nga jog̩? РWhere do you come from?
M: Amerik la jogé. Man ngiy jàng ci Universite Cheick Anta Diop. Yàgg naa fii juroomi weer. – The U.S. I study at the University here. I’ve been here for five months.
TD: Amerik wàlla Sénégal lan moo gen? – Which country is better?
M: J’aime les deux!! – I like them both!! (Notice the lapse in my Wolof. It was bound to come soon…at this point he continues in Wolof, and although I understood what he said I do not know how to say it myself. I continue mainly in French.)
TD: That’s not what I said. I said gen!!
M: Gen?? As in sortir (to go out)? Or as in preference?? What is gen?
TD repeats himself, but changes the sentence.
M: I said I like them both.
TD: If you’re going to speak Wolof you should understand what’s being said.
M: And how will I learn if I don’t practice what I know? Tell me what you said.
TD: I said *same thing*
M: Dégguma. – I don’t understand.
TD: Well then you should ask me what I said!!
M: I did!!
*pause*
TD: Don’t you want to know what I said?
M: Fine. What did you say?
TD: It’s a body part.
M: Oh. (I think I see where this is going…)
TD: You know, like arm, or head, or ear, or eye…
M: *pause*
TD: Only men have it.
M: You’re not polite, so I’m changing the subject. How was your day?
TD: Are you married?
M: (switching back to Wolof) Yes I am, my husband lives in the states.
TD: Is he Sénégalese?
M: No.
TD: You need a Sénégalese husband. Marry me.
M: One husband is more than enough.
TD: No, you should have two husbands. It’s better that way.
M: No, I don’t think so. My husband pleases me.
TD: Do you have children?
M: No. Not yet.
TD: Why not?
M: (back to French) We’re students. We need to finish school.
TD: Has your husband not had relations with you?
M: You’re very rude.
TD: I’m not rude, I’m trying to help you learn Wolof. Has he? I could please you sexually.
M: No, you couldn’t please me if you tried. My husband is better than you. You watch too many telenovelas (soap operas with white people eating each others faces on beaches/other public places), and those are not life. You need to learn to respect women. You cannot speak to us like this, what would your mother say?
TD: *giggle giggle*
M: Yeah, okay fine. Have a nice day. RESPECT WOMEN.

So, what do you think?? Believe it or not, the whole thing happened in surprisingly good spirits. I would like to proudly call attention to my personal growth in the last five months that I was able to have a civilized discussion with this man, to hopefully teach him something (which I hope I did, although it does not turn up in this conversation) and to leave without wanting to hang myself in the shower.

Dead Things*

Thursday, January 31st, 2008
What’s the most interesting dead thing you’ve seen lately?
Because I’ve been seeing a lot of dead things.
Every time I see a dead thing I think about the states, and how dogs and cats are pets. And then I lie to myself about how we clean up our roadkill and other Dead Things, which for the most part we don’t.  It sort of depends on the size of the thing.
Every once in a while a dog gets hit (or dies on its own because of god-knows-what kind of insect-born infection) and the lies in the road partition for a week or two while everyone ignores it. I can always feel my face wrinkling as I concentrate on trying not to look, smell, or otherwise acknowledge the rotting masses.  And also not to step in them, which can be more difficult than it sounds.  After a while they flatten a bit and turn the color of dust like everything else.
What do we do with our roadkill when we *do* dispose of it? The other month I saw a recently-hit dead cat lying in the road, noting with morbid interest that it was probably a new addition to the road’s decor.  The next day, walking past the same stretch of road, I saw that it had disappeared-only to realize a moment later that the corpse, having fully passed into the state of rigor mortis and beginning to bloat, was sticking haphazardly out of a trash can.  Interesting.
I routinely step on a sheep jawbone in front of tailor boutique, and the other day a leg fell out of the freezer (causing my mother to shout “it’s a leg!!”).  The bones and fur of a particularly gross dead cat decorate my morning route to the university, along with a trail of intestine that reaches into the street.
Just, you know, a point of interest.  Something to think about while I sulk because it’s already getting hot again.
Love,
Mouse
p.s. I have a new friend and skin parasite.  His name is Albert, and he’s been renting living space on my back.  We’re not getting along very well; he doesn’t like to clean and he’s making me itch.  He never signed a contract either, making him a squatter. When I noticed him I thought he might be in the process of moving out, but then he decided that he has the liberty to take over more space which is definitely not true. Ringworm is so pretentious. Now I’ve got his fungus-y number and he’ll be out withing the week, Inchallah.
p.p.s. Dearest, most darling mother, see how I’ve grown??  Far from sleeping with my bedroom door open because I’m afraid to think about things decomposing, I step in rotten cats and on jawbones in the street.
*The previously mentioned letter, posted in it’s entirety on the repeated request of Moom.  Sheesh!!  Also, Albert is disappearing.  In case anyone was curious…