Happy 2010! My wish for you this year is peace, prosperity, joy—and a surpassing of whatever you can now imagine is the BEST.
My holidays began pretty simple and moved to nice variety. My last class finished Christmas Eve at 8PM. There was nothing on my agenda Christmas Day (which was not a bad thing to me). On the 29th I headed for Somone. It is a pretty little town where a new, and now good, friend lives. She is a retired nutritionist and library specialist who was last at Howard University. She built / is building a charming home that I call a chalet. It is almost round (octagonal, hexagonal?) with a first floor 2-story high main room, cute kitchen, bedroom, and bathroom. There is a large loft (where I got to sleep!) next to a breezy balcony that was perfect to enjoy sunsets and morning meditations. Also full bath with large bathtub is adjoining. The house is independent of the electric company and has lights thanks to a solar panel. Right now there is only one, with others to come later to be able to accommodate refrigerator and water pump. Until then there are 2 wells (sort of accidental) were water is drawn and coolers with ice.
The walk to the beach had surprising sights. Quite a few natives were exercising: steep angle push ups, jogging, skipping. Vendors strolled or stationed themselves with artwork, fabric, jewelry, and other wares. I had planned to swim but this was not my Atlantic Ocean. This was more like the Pacific beach in San Francisco—suitable for surfing and temperature too low for my liking, in spite of warm weather otherwise. A few European tourists (I saw more of them in this resort area than I have seen in 3 months in Senegal) braved the water; I waded up to my knees and sent love in splashes to those near & dear to me on the shore of the American side. The water looked like it was only waist high for a hundred yards out. I collected shells, regretting I could not have the dozens of perfect ones around.
On the 31st we went to Dakar. I lucked out some more here. We stayed at the home of retired military official. It is a large villa in a neighborhood with educational institutions and embassies. We spent a quiet New Year's Eve, champagne at midnight. With most places closed and many family and friends dropping by for New Year's wishes we stayed put for the day. Saturday we ran some errands, and then left the capital. Since there would be many, many people on the road at the end of vacation Sunday, that seemed more sensible. Nearly impromptu, pleasant time of a few days.
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