Saturday, July 10, 2010

Secret Spot

I finally made it to the Casino supermarket in Les Almadies and discovered that the one liter bottle of bleach that Ali the guide arranged for me for 3000 CFAs actually only cost 450 CFAs. It made me kind of bitter. Almost everyone i have talked to has only wanted to steal from me. Where to do I find the good locals? People i can trust?

I got a couple sacks of groceries for 5250 CFAs, including some fresh bread and pain du chocolate. I checked the tribal surf shop, but it was closed again- i have been there 3 times and it has never been open. I ended up at the "secret spot," one break north of the last place i surfed and it was full of kids as well, but more expats- probably because it was Saturday. Again the break was close to the shore, but i got a couple waist high waves. It was pretty chaotic, until one expat yelled at me for cutting in the lineup, when it had been a free-for-all all day long. People were paddling around and snaking each other, three or more going for the same wave. I followed his instructions and got the next wave, but it carried me into some shallows and i stepped on an urchin when i bailed- about 20 thick needles jammed straight into the bottom of my left foot, so my day was over. It was gonna be my last wave anyways but what a sour way to go.

As i cut into my foot with my swiss army knife while i sat on the tailgate of my landcruiser in the parking lot some little local kid wandered up. He grabbed the tweasers and tried to grab the needles as i pried them up with the knife blade, but we could hardly get anything below the surface out. Every now and then some other local would wander up and try to sell me something- one guy even had a box of little yellow birds, but after about 30 mins i gave up on my foot. I changed and tried to leave but all of a sudden my little friend wanted something- maybe payment for jamming the needles deeper in my foot as i sawed on it with a pocketknife. I dont really know because he used some words i didnt recognize, so i just left.

I looked up some treatment for the sea urchins, ended up pissing on my foot, then trying to cook it in hot water for an hour or so. I guess i'll just take it easy tomorrow and see the doc on monday unless it gets worse.


  1. I'm sorry to hear you are having a rough time. I hope things start getting better.

  2. Wow, that must really hurt! Be careful, with using your knife for surgery, it could cause worse problems... staph infection...keep an eye on it,
    Go to the ER if it gets bad.
    What an adventure you are having...Please be careful
    We Love You , Mom and Dad

  3. Those Africans are real entrepreneurs. They aren't necessarily cheating you; they are using normal market conditions. It is a normal business strategy called "whatever the market will bear." The truth is, there are customers who are willing (and able) to pay more than the usual price. Your salesperson showed great intiative in finding for you exactly what you wanted, and bringing it to you (the bleach); the extra you paid was just a service charge.
    Whenever a salesperson is involved, you usually end up paying his commission, more than if you found it yourself (like on the internet).
    Your mistake is expecting the locals to treat you as an equal and do favors for free, when the truth is the economic differences and status between West and East are huge. You can never be friends without some sort of equalizing bond, such as the gospel of Jesus Christ. Your peers are other embassy officers or those of equivalent rank from allied nations. Are there any LDS people there?

  4. Someday in the future you will look back at your experiences and laugh remembering how "green" you were - just like on a mission. You have us rallying for you and a Comforter to guide you.
    All our best.
    -Josh and family

  5. Is the vinegar dissolving the spines?

  6. I dont have any vinegar, didnt see any at the store. will hobble to the doc today