Category Archives: Senegal
Back in 2006 we sent a container down from France with 90% of our belongings which were going to furnish the home and boutique hotel we built in La Somone (south of Dakar), where we planned to live at least 8 months of the year.
I remember packing everything up into boxes (it was not the first time), thinking how excited I was to start this new stage of our lives. However when all those boxes I had so carefully put together joined the French antiques in the container parked in front of our house, I got all choked up and teary-eyed. I took photos of the container driving away to meet the ship which three weeks later would arrive in Dakar harbor. It felt to me perhaps like sending a child off to school for the first time (but different obviously!); there was my “life” being carted away towards uncertainty.
Since that time, we sold the property up north and bought a plot on the beach in the Casamance. We are still in the process of construction, but all of our belongings have been shipped down here and now makes our little house into our “home”. Unfortunately we do not want to live here year-round, so slowly we are bringing back to France what we can carry: last time it was the antique kilims and our photo albums. This time it is personal collections of little “objets” which I find dear (antique fishing lure collection, wood hat forms, crystal wine glasses from my grandparents). I can only pack up to 30 kilos (66 lbs) and so have to make choices of what can go this time, and what stays behind….
On a lighter note, I thought I’d share with you a few images of the interiors. It’s a mix of French, Spanish and Portuguese furniture, accessorized with the “objets” collected from all over the world.
PS – This post is dedicated to my good friend Cassondra : a fellow maker of “homes”.
The Guest House is which we live, while the “main” house is being finished. Our view over the gardens at sunset.
Another French table with our stereo (can’t believe it still works!), little paintings, kilims. A scene from outside the other day when I was going thru all the boxes we had in storage. Found four dead rats. Yum!
The beaches here are fantastic, albeit they are not the turquoise waters of the Caribbean, the long stretches of white sand, hardly any garbage (amazing!) and little construction keep the Casamance rather authentic.
Currently we are enjoying daytime temperatures of 28 degrees C, and the water is around 23 degrees, a touch cool, due to the “Alize” winds which have been blowing the past afternoons.
The days are crystal clear blue, and at night the stars jump out at you, almost as if you can touch them. I have to get me telescope out one of these nights!
Did I mention swimming mice? why yes I did! Sorry if I’m belaboring this electric blackout subject, but as much as I’m “used” to it, one does realize how “helpful” having electrical current is!
So, back to the mice. Whilst pleasantly trying to sleep the other night (I say “try” because it was a bit warm and our fan obviously did not work, so you sort of toss and turn) we listened thru the open window to the breeze in the palm trees, the sound of the waves coming along shore, and “plop”! Followed by “swish, scratch, swish”. A sound which was easy enough to figure out: a mouse (ahem, small rat) had found its way into the water bucket we had left by the toilet. Flashlight in hand, we both went exploring the room next door and lo and behold, yes, we had a midnight swimmer with us! Neither of us in the frame of mind to deal with the situation, we went back to bed.
More scratching and nibbling noises: some from the roof (lizards) and another mouse in the kitchen boxes. Up and out of bed again, with flashlight, broom and open door, we banged around the pots and pans, not seeing anything run by quickly, we gave up and went back to bed again. No more noise. We figured the “kitchen” mouse rather preferred leaving the premises rather than go for a midnight swim with its cousin!
Oh, the photo? my bedside night stand: French country chair, backgammon board purchased on a trip to Istanbul and storm lamp to read by. What’s the book: “Great Expectations”. I’ve got plenty of expectation for this place!
A couple of days behind in posting this, but here’s the free March 2011 wallpaper for your computer screen.
Since I’m in Senegal this month, I thought I’d send you some feeling of “Tropic” : – )
With warm regards,
I’m still alive in the Casamance, it’s just that the electrics are not! We’ve had a blackout since Tuesday 11am, and now as I write this 6 pm the next day, we’re just back on-line. Ah, the joys of living in Africa!
I’m also without an internet connection at the house, which makes it rather difficult and frustrating to communicate. Last time we were here two years ago our neighbor shared his Wifi connection with us, but of course now his router is broken. So I’m obliged to walk the equivalent of about 3 NY city blocks to the nearby Hotel Amigo and use their Wifi connection – that is when we have electrics! Aaargh!
Despite the number of years we’ve lived and travelled across parts of the African continent, I continue to be surprised by some of the scenes I see, how people have modified elements from the “European” worlds to better fit their own.
Here are a few recent Senegalese “scenes”: Doudou collecting coal (he enjoyed having his photo taken), the egg truck in Cap (I wonder how many eggs survive the bumpy roads!), and finally a quick snapshot of “Amigo”, the little deer which runs freely around the grounds of the hotel (I took this with my phone while balancing my laptop on my lap, so apologies that it’s not a great work of art. But she is terribly cute, non?!
Sitting in a Roissy airport hotel room, trying to “relax” before a 4:00am wake-up call, I just wanted to drop you a note to say that I’m fluttering between free hotel wifi signals, airport signals, and who knows what awaits me when we arrive in the Casamance tomorrow!
For my 365 challenge, I spotted these sweet little white flowers outside the hotel. Late or early bloomers? You decide!
See you soon from the “Pays de Teranga”!
In a week from now I’ll be at Charles de Gaulle airport, waiting for an early morning flight to the Casamance. What awaits is a beautiful beach, hopefully warm water, fresh fish off the “pirogues”, and lots of time to…..
A year ago it was hot enough that I quenched my thirst with one of these Gazelle beers – yum! I have never been much of a beer drinker, never got into keg parties at college et al. However, as I’ve grown wiser in my years, I’ve discovered that beer really suits certain times, places and meals. Germany comes to mind. Senegal is another. This beer is proudly Made in West Africa (as is the competitor beer: Flag). We buy a whole case at a time, in addition to a case half filled with Cokes, half with Sprite. Our Senegalese friends don’t drink alcohol, and we like to mix the beer with Sprite (as they do in Spain (“clara” ) the UK (a “shandy”) and in France (a “panache”).
The temperature in Cap Skirring is currently in about the mid 80′s F/30′s C, so I suppose a few more Gazelles will be poured in the coming weeks. Along with with Guerrouane.
PS – a DIY project I undertook: the tray covered in Gazelle labels. Maybe we drink too much? @#%&!?
Going thru images from last year and this lovely blossom came up. Our garden in Senegal is quite colorful and diverse. Things grow there so quickly; just add water!
A year ago, instead of sitting amongst the vines of Burgundy, I was under the rays of a Senegalese sun….and this cute little creature showed up with The Boys!
She was a young puppy, very vivacious and a sweetheart. She stayed. She was happy and so were we. Her name is Mischief.