Bike rides

Bike seat

So, I finally got a proper bike seat yesterday. As I had anticipated, the bike guy was alternately unavailable or dead or whatever (I think it was a relative who was dead) and no proper replacement bike seat arrived from that corner. So Djibi went out and bought a bike seat for 2000 CFA (about 4 bucks). I paid him back. The seat has a (slightly) padded cover over a metal frame that is supported on two springs. Every time I go over a bump I can feel the metal pushing into my butt and then the clonk, clonk of me bottoming out on the springs. Wonder how long they are going to last? Anyway, I can afford a lot of these and at least it doesn’t pitch backwards, forwards, and to each side like the ones the bike merchant gave me (there was one on there at the beginning, which broke after two rides, and then the next one he sent was pre-broken). In addition, this is the style of seat found on these bikes where they live, in Amsterdam and Hamburg. So, I am now an old fart pedaling carefully along the street.

I took my bike downtown yesterday to the Lebanese supermarket to buy some expat-type stuff like cheese and paté and breakfast cereal. They also have good coffee and sunblock. All these are products that don’t have a huge market here but for which the market that does exist is prepared to pay high prices. So I shop there as little as possible, but I did need some of those things.

The ride down and back was pretty scary. I got quasi-brushed back by a pickup truck turning left at an intersection – his rearview mirror came about an inch from my right arm, and from pushing me into oncoming traffic. Then, a little further on, I rode over a big bump hidden by dust and almost lost control, luckily the cars at that point were stopped so I just swerved around a bit. Finally, coming a little closer to my house, there was a gigantic traffic jam with bikes and motos weaving around between the cars. At that point, I got off and walked my bike across the street and over to an unpaved side street where all I had to worry about was running down somebody’s chicken. The problem is, that street is fairly narrow but it seems to carry most of the traffic that goes downtown from the east side of town. Next time, I’m going north around by the university.

I went up to the university today and worked for several hours in the quiet air conditioning of my boss’s office. The faculty office, not the madhouse of a department office where she spends all her time. I’m about halfway through translating my PowerPoints for the US History class. My students don’t have an actual textbook and so they are going to make do with making their own photocopies of the PowerPoint presentations. I’m going to talk about note-taking.

So that was my day. Madame Bousso has sent me some rice with Yassa sauce (lemon and onion predominate, with pieces of chicken or fish and sometimes other vegetables). And I’m recording more lectures for military history. The internet is cooperating for once – uploading this photo took about 10 seconds, like in Ghana. I wonder what they did?

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