Losing my old phone is wicked vexing, both because I have to re-enter all of my clients contact information by hand, and also because I really liked that chunky little Nokia. Nevertheless, my new phone has some pretty sweet features. In addition to a color screen (!), it also has a Mecca compass which, when given the parameters of your current city and time zone, can orient you in the direction of the Holy City. Even though the sun is down, I kn0w for a fact right now that Mecca is somewhere off to my left.
It also has a built-in FM radio, and as I rode the bus today I found some interesting stations. On one of them, DJ Joostin Beeber was playing mash ups of Alicia Keys and Keri Hilson with Indian Bhangra music, with police sirens thrown in occasionally. On the BBC, a series of callers with Irish accents discussed the recent Egyptian presidential elections. And on my personal favorite station, a voice patiently read sentences in French like “I want to buy some bread” or “is it very heavy?” and then repeated them in Japanese. Educational programming, I guess.
Well, I got mugged last Thursday. It’s not really the type of story to write on a blog, but maybe you’ll ask me about it next time I see you. I lost about $25 in cash, my cell phone with all of my contacts (mostly Zidisha clients), my belt, and a trucker hat that I got at a frisbee tournament my team hosted at Haverford. This really wasn’t what I had in mind when I set out to share the sport of Ultimate with Africa.
Wherever you are this summer, take care of yourself. I should have been paying more attention, and the best way to get out of bad situations is not to get into them in the first place. I’m totally fine and I’m lucky that I am.
I’ve finally figured out Paco the Barber’s method. Today I went in, sat down in the chair, and as he whipped the towel around my neck he asked me cheerfully “same as last time?” ‘NO!!” I said, and explained that this time he should use the number 6 clippers instead of the #1/10 or whatever it was he used previously. Turns out, it’s all the same thing. You get to request whatever gauge of clipper he’ll use first, but in the end, he’s just gonna shave your head down with the number 2. Who can blame him? It’s not often someone with hair like mine walks into his shop, and stripping hair off with electric clippers is a lot of fun. Paco goes at it with great gusto.
After he had finished very carefully trimming me with the #6, then equally zealously shaving off his handiwork with the #2, he cleaned up the edges a little bit with an ordinary straight razor– the kind you put in an exacto knife. After whacking me around the head with a wet sponge to dislodge any loose hairs, he got out a big spray bottle and told me to close my eyes tightly. I didn’t, cuz I don’t trust Paco one little bit, and having seen what he does to my head when I’m looking, I was terrified to think what experiments he would try when I wasn’t. He shrugged and starting spritzing my whole head with a mix of water and rubbing alcohol. “For the germs,” he explained, although usually I thought that barbershops sterilized their tools BEFORE cutting hair, rather than just sterilizing their customers heads when they finished.
At least I’m more evenly covered than last time. 1000 CFA
These are different pelts and natural products that are used to make gris-gris, religious charms. Those are actual monkey heads.
A lot of vendors sell toques in Touba. I guess some people find 35 degrees celsius chilly.
This is what the Sahel looks like
Ironically, this is the Imam who gave me a charm to protect me against traffic accidents
Girls left, Guys right
That’s Papa in the camo