It's 4.30 pm, the Muezzin calls for an early prayer. It wakes me up regularly, and I lie quietly in bed and listen to that mix of religion and the sound of the fan which allows me to sleep in the heat. My room has no windows, so 95F is not uncommon when I go to bed at around 2am usually, not before having discussed the business day with my friend and partner. These discussions often end up with lively debates about societies, cultures, philosophies and the differences between our cultures.
More often that not I have to admit that we Westerners are on the wrong track with our superficial consumer attitude where "esprit et conscience" are on the losing side.
Around 10am la bonne (the maid) shows up with le petit dejeuner (breakfast), and we sit on the carpet in the living room enjoying fried eggs, bread and butter, and coffee - no, not local brew, but that damn Nescafe.....before you complain about having a maid, that this would be slavery, be reminded that this is a paid job here, and a lot of young women wouldn't have one if it weren't for this.
Now, before the heat reaches 110F, we take a car to town to meet people, or do some shopping. We don't have malls where you find everything in one place, so you're driving around half of the day from shop to shop, take in some healthy exhaust fumes, add some Sahara dust to it and at night you sure know why you cough.
Yesterday we had to repair a Sony Xperia which was considered being completely done in Switzerland. Here the thing was fixed in one hour for US$ 10. Mind you, it did cost US$ 300 two years ago....these people can fix literally everything, I tell you.
Then I got my new tailored suit, which did cost US$ 100, and finally we got home at 3pm - just in time for lunch - rice and fish and hot spices, 6 people around a big plate, and since I'm the veggie lover people shoved all their veggies over to me ;-)
The habitude of letting the TV run all day also exists here, and when my partner's wife is around, telenovelas run through, Nollywood, Indian crap and Top Models until you like to puke. Just like back home. Women are the same all over, really. And when CSI is on, I'm taking a chair outside, sit in front of the house, watch the kids play soccer on the street and listen to some good old Progressive Metal. One can sit outside all night here, temperature drops sharply, and the only disturbing thing are mosquitoes. Yes, we have malaria here, but no worries. They have drugs, 3 tablets in 2 days, and you're up and running again.
We're living in a part of town which is considered "grand standing", means everyone has his own house, the environment is spacy, and there's no crime, not even muggings or verbal aggressions. After almost 4 weeks, people know the "toubab", the White guy living here. And they are very friendly. We sit together at night and drink Arab tea (you know, the small glasses), it's a come-and-go, since everyone knows Alioune, my partner, and his family.
Really, life here is very slow and full of social life. Internet is also slow, if available, but who cares ? We don't need the net here to fill empty hours. We got better things to do - and when we've had it with meetings, we drive the 45 miles to the beach and get a healthy sunburn :-)