One week in Salone

It’s pouring. I’m sitting (where else?) on the back porch, watching the rain beat the tiles in the back yard. I don’t mind when it rains in the evening – although it would be better if it waited until AFTER I go out for fryfry – because it cools everything off. It rained a few nights ago and I actually wore yoga pants and a SWEATER to bed. Unheard of, when you think that last night I was sleeping naked and still endeavouring to move as little as possible so that I wouldn’t heat up.

I’ve done two more interviews, one with the author of the report upon which I based part of my thesis proposal. I met with him at a cafe on the beach (rough life for a student, eh?), and when we were done I walked to a nearby craft market. Being a Tuesday afternoon, there was no one there… except me and about 16 vendors. It was
target-the-white-person time. I didn’t really want to buy anything big, and I made that clear – not that it stopped vendors from trying to make a sale. It seems that they’re worried that white people don’t know about bartering, because when you ask how much something costs they say “X leones… first price, first price.” One guy even spelled out how bartering works, in case I didn’t know. All of the stalls seemed to have basically the same things, yet the vendors all said they were craftsmen and made the items themselves… which I have a hard time believing. All I really wanted for the time being was an ankle bracelet, but no stall seemed to have one – so I asked one vendor, and he got me to point out which beaded necklace I liked, explaining he could just break it down and make an anklet for me on the spot. I pointed out some dark brown, irregular shaped beads (which turned out to be coffee beans)… and whip, snap, the vendor and his friend had bitten apart the necklace strings, crouched on the floor with the beads and made me three custom anklets for 15000 leones total (about CDN$4).

I’m starting to really look forward to Alex’s arrival. When we parted at the beginning of May, the expanse until we’d be together again was large enough that there wasn’t even any point thinking about missing him. But now it’s only six days…. one hundred and forty-four hours… not that I’m counting. I’ve been here for a week now, so my honeymoon with Salone has worn off, but I’m really looking forward to getting to see Salone for the first time through Alex’s eyes. Also, it’s not that I’ve been depriving myself before he gets here, but there are some things I’ve held off doing because I know we’ll do them together – going to crappy (in a good way) ex-pat bars, buying handicraft gifts for family and friends (requests, anyone?), exploring downtown, and then the longer trips to the Tacugama chimp sanctuary, Banana Island and River No. 2 beach. I know six days isn’t very many, but it sure sounds like a lot from this end.

Okay I’ll stop complaining now about my First World problems. How are all you doing? (Seriously, send me emails with news from home! It’s really nice to boot up the computer and find emails in my inbox. rquipp(at)gmail(dot)com.) The rain has cleared up now so I’m starting to think about dinner and maybe getting some work done. I’m
desperately looking for distractions to keep me from pining for Alex’s arrival, but for some reason I’m still avoiding work. Good to know that I’m the same on every continent.

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