Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Choice views of the Cap Vert Peninsula and Dakar

Iles Madeleine from Soumbedioune beach

View from Soumbedioune beach.

View of Almadies, the westernmost point of Africa from the Mamelles lighthouse
Our neighborhood seen from the Mamelles Lighthouse
Renée and Gina in front of the Mamelles Lighthouse
The Divinity Mosque of Ouakam next to the Ouakam fishermen village.

View from Ngor Island.

Friday 2PM prayer time in downtown Dakar.
All traffic stops.

One of the many beautiful stainglass of the Dakar Cathedral.

The Dakar Cathedral - a blend of 3 architectural styles of the Faiths of the Book.

Our favourite town centre hang-outs, the French Cultural Centre - nice restaurant, a bit of peace and greenery and great cultural events.

The Dakar train station - looks much better than the train systems runs (hardly at all).

A concert of Christian music on traditional West African instruments inside the Dakar Cathedral.

The return of the fishermen at Yoff fishing village (hold your nose and watch where you step).

This is taken from just down the road

Flora and Fauna of Senegal

Flame tree
Local lizard

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

End of year 2008

We love tropical Christmas....quiet, warm and sunny. And we love the local Santa at the grocery store: a tall African man in a red Santa outfit.
This end of year finds us well and with a good likelihood of staying in Dakar for a while longer. Update of the last couple of months:

Gina just started a permanent half time job as the manager of the Club Atlantique with 8 Senegalese staff. It's a sports and activity family club where we have been using the 25m pool. There are also tennis and handball courts, a great children's playground, a Lebanese snack restaurant, a club house with a bar, books, TV, games, DVD lending library, etc.. All in all it's about supervising the running of a small business as an NGO. Patrons are largely expat families of many countries. Until February she is also doing her 2 nights/week of English EFL teaching.

Bernard finished his second Catholic Relief Services contract and is waiting to hear back from a few local/regional job applications. Thanks to his sister Tiphaine (our neighbour across the street who is also applying for jobs to keep her in Dakar) he is now doing a 25 day technical micro-finance Fr/En translation for the World Bank (oh, can the French be wordy about nothing! My CRS Anglophone colleagues liked my translated French best as I can write reasonable French but at least in an English get-to-the-point manner).

Tiphaine and Bernard took a scuba diving course and after all the hard work (lugging heavy gear and preparing for all unpleasant contingencies) we finally got to blow our own bubbles "inside the aquarium", among the underwater rocks of a marine reserve. So many fish and other critters with wonderful shapes, colors and behaviours. Fortunately, fish are mostly curious creatures, so it's great to just hover over rocks and look at the live show in 3D. (Sorry no underwater photos, my camera does not go that deep).
It is also the season for migratory birds and it's great to see them around. Bird watching is fun, part of it is the just the environment (quiet and reasonably natural) and the feel of discovery.

Our other sister Françoise came out to see us from Virginia for a week, which allowed her to decompress and enjoy the tropics and allowed us to do some touristy fun stuff (usually to do with beach, islands, swimming and good food).

Bernard also went with some guys on a moto excursion, up the coast on the beach at low tide (oh, so smooth and quiet) and back on mostly dusty and bumpy but occasionally swampy or sandy tracks.

That's all for now and we wish you all a Very Merry Christmas and a Very Happy New Year, full of health and happiness.

Bernard, Gina and the ZZs.