Thursday, June 10, 2010

World Cup Maddnesssss

The coupe du monde is upon us. I heard that people down south are pretty excited about this global event being put on in an African nation. Unfortunately, its a 9-hour flight so I cant make it. But I can watch the games on TV/the internet. Go Cote d'Ivoire! Francophone West Africa's best shot at the title. I hope they beat Brazil.
I live with vegetarians at my new place and now cook awesome vegetarian food all the time. The other day, we made a ton of vegan bagels, first bagels abroad, verrrry tasty.
I hate front loading french washing machines. I can't understand the directions, they take forever to wash your clothes, then they spin dry for like 30 minutes and never actually get dry. I didn't know this but the United States is the only country where dryer machines are the norm. In Senegal people usually do their stuff by hand in big plastic tubs with powdered soap but now I'm living the life of luxury.

I was never too much of a USA soccer fan, but being abroad when they are playing makes me kind of nationalist. It was fun watching our fellow North American brethren beating up on the colonial french dudes yesterday, Mexico rules!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Poulet Yassa

Very straightforward amazingly dank dinner. Here is the recepie for 2 (or 1 if your hungry, or 3 if you're tiny)
poulet- chicken, you can get breasts or the whole bird, but for this recipe, 2 breasts or 1/2 small chicken cut into 2 pieces should work
4 onions
9 cloves garlic
lettuce, tomatoes, carrots
pimont (basically any spicy sauce will do, use with caution)
bullion cube (i use the brand Maggi, the more MSG the better)
olive oil
running water

Step one, cut your onions and garlic
Step 2, add olive oil to the pan and heat
3 add onions and fry for a bittle
4 put 4 cubes crushed garlic, pepper, and pimont in a cup of water, pour the cup with all that stuff in it into the pan and mix
5. add mustard (like a spoonful), vinegar (like 1/4 cup), and bullion cube
6. keep adding water and letting it boil away until the onions look like this
7. add chicken that you have already cooked to the yassa sauce

you can cook the chicken however you want, I like to marinade (do whatever you like) and grill it but the official senegalese way is to pan fry it with pimont, pepper, and garlic

Can be served 2 ways, 1. on rice, boom, finished
2. in the middle of a salad, with french fries all mixed in (my fave), and bread

Mama Fatou taught it to me and it is always good and not too hard to make. Bon appetite!

Senegalese factoids
When i buy the vinaigre, i buy it by the 25 CFA in a little baggie, its silly and kind of looks like a sandwich bag full of pee
With the bread version, eating with your hands (right hand only!) is a must, with the rice version you can use a spoon if you are toubab
I'd try to use real french moutard because american mustard sucks
Drink it with pineapple soda if you really want to be vrai (legit) senegalese
And eat it on the floor
And have everyone eat out of the same dish
Bonne chance, bonne ap

Monday, June 7, 2010


Since I have no ca
r, no moped (too dangerous), and sometimes you just can't take the bus I end up taking taxis more than I ever had before coming here. They are pretty janky but they make the city very safe because the maximum you pay to go anywhere in Dakar is 2000 CFA ($4). Even though they give me security, they are annoying as hell sometimes.

First, the fare. There is a mandatory argument at the beginning of every cab ride where you discuss where you are going and what the price is. Prices raise by: distance to be traveled, number of people, number of stops, presence of baggage, looking like a foreigner, telling them to go a certain route, being near a place where rich people go (airport, concert venue, beach etc.), or just about anything you can imagine. At some point you just cut your losses and pay a little extra or you tell the cab to move on and you wait for the next one. There are strategies for paying less, like: speaking a little Wolof, being a cute girl, having a Senegalese person argue the fare for you, lying about where you are going, etc. I get why they jack up the prices but they shouldn't get all mad all the time, yeesh.

Overall, I'm glad for the taximen. They are always good for french conversation and Wolof practice. Sometimes I have really great chats with them and we end up just parking and talking about politics, Dakar, sports or whatever. Other times they are mean and just trying to get another dollar out of me. So its a balance. Sunset ride home.
Anyway, glad to be in the new house. Pics coming.
Jamma Jamma (peace)

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Mouton All Day Long

I'm 3 months into my Senegal experience. I am discovering new things every day. Yesterday I moved to a new neighborhood called Yoff. A large house with chill people, pretty excited.

I haven't given a public healthy post in a lil while. So check it.
The BP Gulf oil spill is an environmental catastrophe, but what impact will it happen on peoples lives? The fishing industries and people who depend on the Gulf for their livelihoods will surly suffer but how will the spill affect the public's health? Every time there are winds from the southeast to the shore people are getting sick. People are complaining of "severe headaches, nausea, respiratory problems, burning eyes and sore throats." The long term health effects will be neurological disorders and cancer. Louisiana really can't catch a break, can it?

I went to Keur Massar again two weekends ago and had another awesome time. We chilled, danced, played some scrabble, and ate a ton of mouton (lamb). I got there and we immediately bought this lamb. I decided not to name him since I knew I was going to be eating him in a days time. They have these zones in Dakar where there are all of these livestock just chilling out. You can buy a whole lamb for like 30,000 CFA (like $60).
Check out this cooking device. That pot (filled with the entire lamb) is right on some hot charcoal and got cooked all day.
Then it got turned into this:
It fed like 50 people. So good. I don't know if I've described how Senegalese meals go. People sit around, usually on the floor or a stool, a big metal bowl or plate like one of these. Then you rip the meat or fish up and scoop the food in like a little ball of tastiness. People either use their hands (right hand only! left hand is for your butt) or a big ol spoon. I love eating in a group like this. Everyone hunkers down over this huge platter of tastiness cooked by the ladies together and encourages each other to eat more. "Mange Benjamin!" "J'ai bien mangé!" "Mange encore!" (eat Ben! I ate! Eat again!)
People are so nice. I really like it here.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Leanna and Rachel

Leanna and Rachel
My ladies, my friends
Gone from Senegal, I know I'll see you again!
Vous me manquez comme woah
Lets keep up on gchat fo sho
I'm so glad I finally got you two together
The roof chez Mamadou will be there forever
Have fun in America, I'll see you soon
Je voudrais dire au revoir and for everything, thank you