Not your average day

I have to constantly remind myself that it is the middle of January and that we’re avoiding the dreadful winter season back home by being here. It is so easy to forget that just two and a half weeks ago we were taking off from a runway that was partially covered with slush and snow. The heat and humidity are our new everyday realities – it’s amazing how quickly our bodies acclimate and our minds forget our former chilly environment. I sometimes catch myself complaining about how hot it is, but have to remind myself that I’d rather be sweating here than freezing back home. Yesterday morning, the sun was out and we actually had some blue sky (which is pretty rare around here), so I grabbed my camera and tripod and hiked up the hill to attempt some panoramic shots of the surrounding African terrain. You know it’s not your average January day when you come back from simply taking some pictures completely drenched.

Later in the afternoon, Meghan and I headed over to the pool to cool off. It felt amazing. We got to share the pool with five young Gabonese boys that had been invited by one of the nurses to come over and swim. It was fun watching them have a blast, jumping, somersaulting, and cartwheeling into the water. Just like kids back home, they know how to have fun, and in some intances, defy death while doing it.

We got to experience our first eating out adventure in Gabon for dinner last night. Renée, one of the doctors, drove us to the nearby town of Dakar to eat at the only restaurant in the village, Restaurant Africain.

restaurant_africain1

When we arrived and walked inside, we noticed we were the only patrons and that our food was already at our table waiting for us. Renée had apparently called ahead and ordered for us, which was probably good because ordering from the menu would have taken some extra courage to try such entrées as porcupine, crocodile, gazelle, antellope, and monkey.

restaurant_menu

As it was, our meal consisted of three whole fish (heads and fins still intact) and chicken pieces in a mystery sauce, served with rice and cooked manioc leaves. It was quite delicious… just watch out for the bones!

Though its appearance was daunting, the fish was actually very flavorful.

Though its appearance was daunting, the fish was actually very flavorful.

Not a bad meal for our first African dining experience.

Not a bad meal for our first African dining experience.

Mmm, we're hungry!

Mmm, we're hungry!

Renée and Amy displaying the aftermath of the meal.

Renée and Amy displaying the aftermath of the meal.

If I were to rate the restaurant, I would probably give it a “B-“. Positives: the food was tasty, the menu exotic, the location remote, and there was a big poster of Jesus on the wall by our table, so we felt immediately protected from whatever it was we were about to eat. Negatives: the atmosphere left a little to be desired, we had to bring our own beverages, the patronage was down, and they had a pesky fly problem (most of the meal was spent waving our arms and hands over our food to prevent the beasts from landing on and contaminating the meal). Though it may not become a weekly tradition for us, we were definitely appreciative of the experience.

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