09 October 2015

The bank vs the heat

So after that long nap yesterday I couldn't fall asleep last night. I fell asleep again at 2am then woke up at 5:45 to use the bathroom.  While I was in the bathroom I hear something... Like a man moaning...? Singing...! It was faint but lovely... It was the call to prayer at the nearby mosque!! My heart leaped with joy.  After that I could barely sleep, but finally drifter back to sleep after a while.  When I woke up again it was 9:45am the kids were still knocked out.  I woke them up at 10 and started rushing them to get ready I left hen in the apartment for all of 10 minutes while I bought eggs, water, Apple juice, grapes, a regular baguette and a baguette with whatever that is they are putting in it.  I have no idea what this spread is but everyone orders it, so I wanted to try.  

Just as we were having a late start so were our neighbors that live in the vacant lots on each side of our building.  Although they look very poor I sure hear a whole lot of happiness, laughing, singing, happy chatter.  They look like they live a tribal village life in the city.  They are in make shift wooden shacks, have a horse and wagon, sleep outside under the stars, cook and wash clothes outside too.  I'm not sure what there is left to do inside.  Also when I look down at night i see he light from their cell phones and iPad shining up at me.  Here is a pic of them lounging around in the morning. 

Once we were done eating I called be apartment owners mother to see if she knew where to change money.  She called me right back and told me to go downstairs and talk to the "garçon" (guy) who will give me directions... Not Francois.  By the time we got downstairs we were dripping wet with sweat, another scorcher.  The garçon, Albert, explained to me that the bank down the stree would be able to change money.  It was about a 15 minute walk... I'm the hot son.  He and Francois looked at me then looked at the boys like "so you ready for them to die on the walk to the bank, or nah?"  They both asked me to leave he boys in the apartment with them downstairs in case of emergency while I went to the bank.  I reluctantly agreed.  

I took then upstairs told them to FaceTime alphapoppa in case of emergency or to get Francois downstairs and that I'd be back in an hour. Brewer were concerned for 5 minutes then thrilled to be on their iPads. Thanks boys.  When I got downstairs Albert was there waiting with car keys in hand... "Come on I'll drive you". I wanted to jump for joy but I'm sure he already thought I was a weirdo so untried to play it cool with a genuine heartfelt "Jerejef" wolof for thank you!

Not only did he take me to the bank he waited for me and it was a loooong wait. I stepped into the bank like I'd just been flipped out of one demension into another like in that old tv show quantum leap. I saw a counter with 4 people sitting behind it and about 15 people sitting in folding chairs apparently waiting their turn to talk to the unofficially looking bankers. I stood there at the doorway for the longest ever 4 minutes awkward and confused.  I thought to myself "Oh that guy looks like a security guard... Maybe I can ask him what to do... He's sure going to think I'm retarded for not knowing what to do in a bank"  just as I walked over and opened my mouth I saw a ticket dispenser.  I closed my stupid mouth, grabbed a number and threw myself down in the closest chair.  I have number 782.  I held onto it for dear life and watched oeople go up one by one after hearing a bell sound.  I glanced at the guy next to me.  His ticket said 778.  So I was four people after him.  Once he gets up I'll wait for 4 bells then I'll get up and walk in that direction, then I'll figure he rest out during the ten step journey.... Smh I'm pitiful... After 15 minutes of mystery bells my eyes accidentally ran across a sign at the top ofnthenwall near the ceiling that flashed the next number and the ticket window to go talk to.  It was at number 762... Seriously people?!?!?! Ok so I was convinced that Albert would be leaving in the next 5 minutes but I couldn't even be mad and knew the at home.  After forever I got my money and headed out... Albert was still there!!! Holy Quran I was thankful. 

During our short drives I learned a lot about him.  He was born and raised in Dakar.  His English was good but he's never been to an English speaking country.  For work he'd been to Amsterdam and Shang hai China but in both places he communicated in English with his coworkers and peers.  He had family members in Atlanta, was on his way to England, and was happy to practice.  During our conversations I mentioned that the kids and I were on our way to Gorée island and that tomorrow we'd go to the pink lake by taxi.  He was excited because he himself had never been to the pink lake.  I invited him to join us.  He agreed but insisted on driving and not taking a taxi.  I offered to buy gas he also refused that.  We agreed to meet tomorrow at 11am and he was happy to see his country through a visitor's eyes. 

Whe I got back to the kids they hadn't moved from where I'd left them.  I swooped them up with the quickness and off we went to Gorée island.

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