granada and the tapas only challenge

Deciding to go to Andalucia was a no brainer. Spain was the cheapest ticket out of Senegal and it would be warm. The weather was very important factor since I didn’t own a long sleeved shirt or a pair of pants (I mean this in the American sense of the word—not the British.) Also, Lonely Planet informed me that the area was famous for tapas and hoestly, I couldn’t wait to stuff my face. The practice of giving people free food with every round of drinks seemed like an unsustainable business model to me, but I guess most tourists aren’t… read this post

a starbucks latte with an extra shot of african drug lord

“We should take her to meet the Hooreejo (chief),” a member of the slowly expanding Pulaar émigré crowd around me in praca dos restauradores suggested. I had spent close to an hour eavesdropping on their conversation before I revealed–much to their surprise–that I could speak Pulaar. I understood that the novelty of a white girl in Lisbon who could speak their language was something that needed to be shared with the entire Pulaar community, but when it was proposed I meet with the “chief” I agreed reluctantly. That little voice in the back of my head (you know, the one… read this post

djenne: or why all travel decisions should be based on whatever is on the cover of the guidebook

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After Dogon Country one of my traveling buddies, Christine, and I decided to continue our tour of  Mali.  I had a sneaking suspicion that this vacation was actually making me more crazy instead of the other way around and thought extending the entire thing would stave off the cray cray a little longer.  What? You don’t understand that logic? In retrospect me neither. We tried organizing a pirogue cruise of the Niger River Delta but balked when we saw that the boat we would be riding in was closer to a floating coffin than a real boat.  Except it smelled… read this post

this bus is going straight to hell…

bus, transport, mali, bamako, diboli, kidira,

These next couple blog entries were written while I was on a much needed vacation in Mali.  This was the first vacation I have taken so far during my service.  And no, I don’t recommend going 16 months without a vacation.  Not so good for the mental health… People who experience a trauma often recall the event as a third party observing the incident. As if they were a fly on the wall watch everything, detached and removed from the pain.  I can’t think of a better way to describe my encounter with the buses of Mali. While I am… read this post

warthog roadkill

warthog, pig, senegal, africa,

In my previous life, I would have been repulsed by the thought of eating roadkill. And in all fairness, I still probably wouldn’t touch a deer or any other kind of wild game that had been hit by a car… but warthog is different. I love pork. Bacon, sausages, chops, ribs—I love it all. In fact my number one concern before moving to Senegal was how I was going to last 2 years without a regular supply of pork (Senegal is a Muslim country—and pork is a big no-no for Muslims). Luckily here is the southern part of Senegal, warthog… read this post