Their travels have taken them to Senegal, a country in western Africa. They started their trip in Senegal with a cruise, and are now participating in a house exchange for a few weeks. It is a special treat for me to receive their updates and be able to share them with you!
Annnnd speaking of Mother’s, Mother’s Day is only a little more than a week away on Sunday May 9 for those of you whose strengths don’t fall in keeping dates, or just have a lot on your mind. I think many Moms will agree the key ingredient in making a special day for Mom is the quality of attention you give them, and that’s free! A break from the usual doesn’t hurt either ;-)
This Mom already knows about a gift from her son to look forward too, because little ones have a VERY hard time keeping secrets, especially ones they are excited about! Big Brother told me today he was getting me a new racing car for Mother’s Day so I can play cars with him...sweet! You should have seen the love and excitement behind it.
Enjoy the virtual trip to Senegal! Thank you Patricia!!
Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!
Senegal Part I by Patricia
So here we are, now at the house exchange. Senegal is kind of mind blowing. When we first stepped out of our hotel room it was just completely sensory overload. The pictures show what the beach in front of the place looked like with all the fishing stuff on it. The other picture is of the charming hotel that Aaron booked us in the first night. WOW! (He is no longer 1st captain 1st pick!) Then there is the boat that we cruised on which was really very cool. And of course the place we are staying in now.
The cruise was great especially because the volcano in Europe shut down all the airports and half the folks booked on the boat couldn't make it. The boat only had 30 or so rooms to begin with so for us that was a good thing. We cruised up the Senegal River which is on the northern border with Mauritania. They are not too keen on tourists there. The French had been here for years (1800s) and finally Senegal won their independence around 1950 so this country is "tres Francais" We are bumbling along with our bonjours, mercis, je suis, ca va's, ou est, and the like but it is a tough slog sometimes.... As we chugged up river we had excursions into African villages unchanged since the beginning of time. We always made a point to see the headman who was always really old and then he would welcome us and give us the go ahead to walk around the village and go in the homes etc. Other excursions would be into small towns to see the now crumbling French forts. Everything is falling down and decaying and everywhere there are people with their hands out.
Of course Aaron was sick for a couple of days and I had to do the group excursion thing alone and we were ambling along through the forest when all of a sudden this guy started franticly yelling and waving his arms wildly and it turned out that he was being stung by bees. Our guide screams out. Run!! And we turn and hightail it up the road as fast as we could which believe me was not that fast. Our group had oldsters and all sizes and shapes and levels of non fitness and there we are, terrified... cameras flapping, half waddling, half jogging, up the road. Every time we slowed down he would yell out allez allez! Finally I guess we outran them and they only stung a couple of people (each about 7 - 8 times in the face and head) Kind of a close call, I am now re-committing to my fitness program.
It seems that day was my wildlife day. When I was pulling back my sheet and pillow for bed there was a mouse napping on my pillow! I screamed - he leapt off the bed and onto the floor- I leapt from the floor up onto the bed - Aaron looked confused - I babbled incoherently - somehow Aaron guessed what was wrong - then I went rushing down to tell one of the boat staff and he looked at me with an arched eyebrow and not a little distain and said "madam we have mice on the boat but not in the rooms", what would you like me to do"? "He was on my pillow for crying out loud, I protested weakly". We will give you a new pillow so he did and that was that. Good thing there was only two nights left on the cruise.
Naturally Aaron was all worried about the cruise food and not eating too much. Alas he need not fear, there were no buffets with fabulous tropical fruits, stunning arrays of meats and cheeses and to die for deserts. It was three squares a day- fried egg, bread , cheese and tea for breakfast and lunch and dinner were interchangeable with chicken or feesh accompanied with bland soggy vegetables. My personal favorite was our lunch with 3 boiled potatoes and some kind of fish that tasted like hamburger. Needless to say mealtime was not my favourite time of the day.
Anyway, we are having a really good time so far and Senegal is really a different place. The people are very beautiful here, both the men and the women, and there is a big sex tourism thing going on here but in the reverse. Older women come here to beach resorts and get a boy toy for their stay. It is a kind of exploitation in reverse.
On the boat we met some Italians who have a place near us in Naianing. They had a bit of a party for us and there were African Drummers and dancers (all men) and it was an amazing magical night. I never knew how much energy the drumming takes when it is done at that level. Then because Luigi knew I wasn't too crazy about Senegalese food they made an Italian feast for us with a traditional Rome dish of pork and pasta. Yumm..We had some appees first with meats and cheeses brought straight from Italy so I was feeling pretty full at the end of the pasta (I could barely get through it).....yes you know what comes next.... they brought out the platters of shrimps with basil sauce ....tomato salad....help!! I thought I was going to be sick. Desert was next...I was hanging on by a thread..Eating for Canada as they say....Finally - the chocolate - they passed me some and I said no and then the accusing look and they snapped out what? You don’t like chocolate? UNCLE!!
Anyway enough already. Hope all is well.