In the two weeks since getting back to Dakar from vacation, I’ve been attempting to create a sustainable routine, something that has been lacking since I arrived here in February. It’s been hard, since my schedule has been all over the place – sometimes out of town for work, sometimes traveling, sometimes doing nothing / half-heartedly studying French. But in order for this place to feel like home, and if I want to avoid weird jags of isolation and anxiety, I need to think of myself much as I think of my nieces and nephew: little powder-kegs waiting to explode if they don’t do the same thing at the same time every day, if they don’t get enough sleep, if they don’t eat well, and if they don’t get a chance to run around like maniacs every once in awhile.
With that in mind, I went to my first ever “aquabike” class yesterday night. My usual form of exercise is running, but it’s been way too hot for that lately. I recently discovered that the place I thought was a community pool just two blocks from my house is actually a dedicated water-biking center. You’re halfway-immersed in the water and an instructor leads you through a one-hour workout that involves a combination of spinning and calisthenics-type stuff. The trial session I went to last night was awesome mostly because I got to be outside in the night air without feeling like I was going to melt or get eaten alive by mosquitos, but also because it was a just-intense-enough workout after weeks of being a couch potato. The pricing is fairly ridiculous – going twice a week would cost about half my monthly rent – but I’ve decided it’s worth it to put something regular on my schedule that’s beneficial to my mental and physical health.
Along those same lines… tonight I’m going out dancing for the first time ever in Dakar. It’s going to be a relatively early night, though, because on Saturday I fly to Benin to start my next job (!!). I – and thus my blog – will be gone for a week, but I look forward to picking up where I left off when I get back at the beginning of October.
In the meantime, here are a few interesting and relevant Web pickings for your reading and viewing pleasure. Have a good weekend / week!
Visual journeys by six photographers to six very different countries (including Ethiopia).
I just found out that Dakar’s beautiful, wonderful car rapides are on their way out and I am so, so sad.
11 funny-because-it’s-true(ish) French travel tips for visiting America.
How (and why) you should talk to strangers when traveling.
Two different writers discuss why they travel alone as married women, here and here.
[Photo from Aquabike Centre Dakar]