On August 1st, 2011 I turned 28, Marielle turned 25, Switzerland turned 720, and a good time was had by all. On July 31st, after the SeneGAD meeting, a bunch of us came in to Dakar and got all cleaned up.
We all went out for fancy pizza and it was delicious. Ben and I shared one that was half "H&M" (merguez sausage and garlic) and half "Hammam" (caramelized onion and goat cheese, no idea how they chose these names), Nic and Ivy split something similar, Sarah ordered a calzone, and Nathaniel opted to slaughter his own pizza.
|I had a little beer to celebrate...|
Afterwards everyone went out for beers, and Marielle came thisclose to pulling off the opening-a-beer-with-another-beer trick.
Sharing a birthday (and a delicious birthday cake) with Marielle was great because she is awesome, as you can clearly see.
On August 1st, our actual birthday, we all went out to Ngor Island. It's a tiny island along the northern part of Dakar, and for about a dollar you can take a 3-minute ride out to it in a pirogue, which is exactly what we all did.
Even though it was overcast, it was warm and the waves we beautiful. Emma enjoyed the view of the coastline, and Kayla, Ivy and I had a nice time strolling around the cliffs.
It was a good day for fancy fancy coffees. Ben treated Emma and I to cappuccinos and tiramisu, and then a little while later we treated ourselves to beachside Nescafes.
It rained for a little while, but it was hot, so we swam anyway, doing our best to avoid all the plastic bags and bits if junk floating around in the surf. We looked at a bunch of sea urchins and little fish, and after successfully clambering around on all sorts of slippery rocks, I stubbed my toe walking out of the water and wound up making a little bandage out of a piece of my skirt-towel-fabric. Then it was naptime, and then we hopped in a boat back to the mainland.
After showers at the regional house it was time for N'ice Cream, more espresso, and then out for Thai food at the Jardin Thaïlandais, and it was fantastic. Really just amazing. (When we sat down I was saying they should tell the waiters it's my birthday and maybe they would give us a free dessert, and then was so wrapped up in how lovely the food was that I actually completely forgot about it and so was genuinely surprised when there was a candle and singing with my caramelized bananas.)
AND THEN the next day Marielle and I went into town with Kayla and her visiting friends, to check out a giant fabric market, eat more ice cream (I was not such an ice cream person in the US, but lately my love for cold things knows no bounds), and go on the trampolines.
Kayla and her friend Sabrina decided to reenact the Scar/Mufasa (Mufasa!!) fight scene from The Lion King.
Obviously, it was a pretty epic few days, and I'm extremely lucky to have such wonderful, fun, photogenic people in my life. And not just in Senegal - when we stopped for internet and I read all the birthday messages I may or may not have teared up a little bit right there in the CyberCafe. Many, many thanks to everyone for being so great ~