It was nice, and very surprising, to find that Senegalese TV was showing the Chelsea v Man Utd match on Sunday (although the refereeing decisions left me fuming so perhaps I would have been better off not seeing it).
This is more typical of the TV fare on offer, noted one evening last week:
Various mid-level Senegalese notables making speeches, watched by rows of women sat in plastic chairs wearing big colourful shiny boubous and too much make-up and jewellery, trying to look interested. In Wolof (the main local language).
A group of about 12 women in shiny, voluminous, multi-coloured boubous, in front of some palm trees, singing and dancing to some nice plinky-plonky Malian-sounding music. In some local language.
Three women in (yes, you guessed) shiny, voluminous, multi-coloured boubous, artfully lounging in big leather armchairs, smiling and waving their arms around gently, whilst a similarly dressed woman in more jewellery shuffled around the room singing (in a local language). Oh, then cut to the same women, in different boubous, swaying to the same music in front of a backdrop of mud huts.
Soap opera from Latin America (Mexico?) dubbed into French.
Unclear, but involved an African family in a cheap, echoing set of a modern house, speaking French. Seemed to be some sort of soap opera.
Top-half view of a man in a shiny purple boubou, in front of a plain blue background, eyes closed, singing/wailing in some local language.
African man in quite nice shiny boubou singing what sounded like a North African (Moroccan?) song, with three women behind him in boubous and veils swaying to the music.
You can see why I don't watch TV very often!
However having just arrived in Guinea Bissau I am faced with even stranger TV since this is part of the tiny Lusophone community, that is the former Portuguese colonies. At breakfast this morning they were showing “Bom Dia Africa” with activities taking place in a dry dusty environment that clearly wasn’t Guinea Bissau, which is lush and green. Turned out to be an Angolan TV channel, which then moved on to a programme set in a swimming pool, with lots of bare flesh on show including Brazilian-style thong bikinis. Most bizarre to be watching that from conservative, largely Muslim West Africa, where the showing of any flesh between the waist and the knee is pretty much taboo for local women (at the beach I’ve seen local women go in the water fully clothed). Once again though I am reminded of how much I like Guinea Bissau. It has something of Brazil about it not just in the rhythms of the music and movement of the people but also in the relaxed atmosphere of the place.