Having switched my holiday dates to accommodate the friend who visited me for Christmas, I found myself in Dakar for New Year’s Eve. Only one friend was in town though (well, actually I have only one friend out here as the others I have made have all now left to work in other parts of the world) and she had a do with people from her embassy. My maid Gloria mentioned that there were several concerts going on, but she didn’t say where, and all I could find advertised were over-priced buffet dinner-dances. So I found myself, as many times in the past, deciding that the best thing to do on New Year’s Eve is to go to bed early so as to start the new year refreshed.
I had an early dinner (pasta with a sauce of feta cheese, black olives, cream and herbs de Provence, with a big glass of Sangria – delicious!) and watched a DVD, then went to bed and to sleep. Not for long, however. It seems that the Senegalese celebrate the New Year with fireworks. They were so loud, and some seemingly so close, that I decided the best thing I could do was to get up and get dressed, and go out to watch. There were fireworks everywhere, some distant big spectacular ones, but many small ones going off nearby. I got to the closest road but seeing children setting off fireworks at all angles (aiming at eachother sometimes – where were their parents?!!) decided not to risk walking across. So I came back home, said Happy New Year to my guard and went back to bed.
I’d made a couple of resolutions this year, and not the type you can put off until the 2nd:
- French practice every day for at least an hour
- exercise or stretching every day (to get myself firmer and more supple)
(and actually I think there might have been a third but as I didn’t write them down I have already forgotten what it was…). So before breakfast I did some stretching, and straight after breakfast got out the Rosetta Stone DVD that a friend kindly gave me a few weeks ago and started on Unit 1, lesson 1 of the French.
As I draft this it is 8pm, and apart from taking lunch and packing for my next trip which starts tomorrow, I realise I have been working on the French for the whole day!! I’m wondering now whether I should have added in a New Year motto, something along the lines of “all work and no play…”.
Anyway, Happy New Year to all of you who read this. Perhaps I should put it in the words of my guard, who got someone to translate for him and wrote me a New Year “card” on a piece of scrap paper: “Peace, Health, Happiness, prosperity and many money for you in the new year 2010”.