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SENEGAL | Saturday, 28 June 2014 | Views [335]

 The “hotel” we were staying in at Goree was called “L'auberge la Maison du Marin de Goree.” “Auberge” means “inn,” “hostel,” or something between the two. That's a very quick description of our lodgings for the night.

The good news was that our room did not have a broken air conditioner. The bad news is that it did not have a defective air conditioner either. It had a ceiling fan and three windows. It also had a mosquito net to compensate for the fact that you needed to be sleeping with the windows open for any chance of a breeze.

When we entered our room, there was only one bed. Cynthia, Megan, and I were all sharing. Granted, it was the same kind of “one bed” that we'd just come from in Dakar, where two beds were pushed together and fitted with a single pair of sheets. And by the time we went to sleep the beds had been redone, and another mattress had been set up on the floor for Megan, so it all worked out. But, in part because of Megan, in part because of “eech! Mosquito net. We don't want to use that” we didn't, and shut the windows and hoped the fan would cool things off enough.

They didn't. But we also didn't have any moths fly into the room during the night to eat all my yarn, so that was good. When we left for the House of Slaves and were trying to lock the door, a moth flew out of the keyhole. Then during dinner, when Cynthia and I returned to our room, there were two moths flying around. It was terrible.

I could not imagine any mattress less comfortable than the mattresses we had to use. I got into the room, checked the mattress, and went “wow, this mattress is hard.” We returned to the room later, and I sat on my bed. Went “wow, this mattress is hard. It had grown softer in my imagination.” Went to get my computer, dropped it a few inches above like one can normally do with beds. Thunk. (Megan: “That was not the sound of a computer hitting a bed. That was the sound of a book hitting a coffee table.”) Leaned against the quilted headboard and started contemplating if I could sleep curled up against that, because it was softer. Came back later that night and got ready to sleep. Went “Wow, the mattress is hard. I'd remembered it slightly less comfortable.” Fell asleep. Woke up the next morning, took a shower, and sat on my bed again. “Wow, this mattress is hard. How did I manage to fall asleep on it?”

I figured at some point I should have gone “you know, this isn't as bad as I remembered it.” If nothing else, after sleeping for several hours on it I should have a pretty good memory of what it actually felt like and not been surprised. But I still was.

We had a shower in our room. It did not get hot. This actually combined nicely with the general heat and humidity of Goree, and easily the most comfortable I felt at Goree was right after getting out of the shower. The process of actually taking a shower was still a struggle, though. I leaned back under the water and dampened my hair. Then I tried adding shampoo and realized it wasn't wet enough, so I needed to go under again. The process was even worse to make sue all of the shampoo was out of my hair. I gave up on conditioning it just because I couldn't face the thought.

Megan said the shower was the smallest she had ever seen. I don't think that's true for me, but it was one of the weirdest shaped. Inside the door for the shower was a decent shower-sized area, then it narrowed to a passage about half that size. It widened up again for the actual shower area, but not as much as it might have.

Oh, and the walls on the bathroom did not go all the way up to the ceiling. This is how I learned that Cynthia and Megan do not sing in the shower. But that at least had some purpose. It stopped the mirrors in the bathroom (the only mirrors we had) from fogging up from the very warm showers we were taking.

So. The bathroom had a shower area. It had two sinks, one of them working. (The second sink was incredibly useful, actually. Because it didn't work, I knew I could put my clothing in there while I took a shower and it would stay dry.) It did not actually contain a toilet. For that, you needed to leave the room and use the bathrooms that were outside it. (There were also showers in that area. I'd considered using it for the warmth, but decided against it.)

Dinner was at the hotel. We were enjoying the first course of a meal when the lights went off. Um... It was a somewhat early dinner, (7:30) and the ceiling was completely open, so there was still enough natural light we could see. (Well, I could anyway. Other people probably missed their electricity way more.) We were given an explanation about a generator and left to enjoy a “romantic” dinner, as Nisrine put it. There were no candles, so apparently her idea of “romantic” is not being able to see your date terribly easily.

Breakfast was bread with your choice of jam, butter, and something chocolate that I saw after I'd chosen jam. To drink you could make tea, instant coffee, or drink bottled water, bissap, or ginger juice. I was the third person down, so I arrived late enough to have been warned that the ginger juice was not orange juice. I opted for the bissap instead. It was almost as sweet as Moroccan tea.

Any dissatisfaction I might have had at needing to get up by 7:00 in the morning for that breakfast was relieved by the fact we were checking out of this auberge, catching a ferry, and checking back into our very nice (even if there were occasional moths and cockraoches) hotel back in Dakar.

 When we went to Cuba, our professors told us that we should get into the kind of mindset that we were camping. I tried that at the abuerge, and it really did help. So I need to leave the room to use the toilet. Hey! There's plumping! So I need to take a completely cold shower. Hey! I have running water! So I don't have wifi. Hey! I have outlets!

It helped a lot, but I think I've realized why I never actually camp.

Tags: bissap, food, hotel, showers

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