Here's a map, just in case you are like me a year ago
when I had no idea where Burkina was located either...
The trip has been good so far, I'm enjoying the fact that it's simultaneously February AND tank top weather. Bigger bonus that it's not quite as hot this time around as it was last time I was here. In fact, it was even "chilly" yesterday thanks to the poussiere (dust storm) that blotted out the sun. And by "chilly" I mean it was comfortable and I wasn't sweating buckets wearing a short sleeve shirt and pants. The Burkinabe, on the other hand, were bundled up in coats and hats. I think it was in the low 80s.
There hasn't been as much exercise action as I'd hoped there'd be by this point. Sunday's workout was missed due to a delayed flight, late arrival time, and general weariness from being awake for almost 36 hours (sleep doesn't happen for me on planes). Monday the hotel couldn't find the key to unlock the gym. I didn't have time to argue and haggle with them, so I let it be and hoped the key would turn up by today. Tried again this afternoon, still no key. I threw a bit of a hissy fit (I kind of feel bad about it but I was desperate and I wasn't rude) and they put finding the key at the top of their priority list. Within 5 minutes, I had it in my hot little hands so I could keep my date with the treadmill. No AC, no fans, and close to 90 degrees, it was awesome. We'll see if they can find the key again for me tomorrow so I can get a bike ride in. I'm not really sure why they lock the gym - they have a guard standing right outside of the gym door (to make sure nobody walks off with a treadmill?) and, quite honestly given the fact that the key was missing for who knows how long and nobody complained, I'm pretty sure hardly anyone even uses the gym. Or knows where it is located (it took me a good 7 days to find it last time I was here).
I bought a cell phone yesterday from one of the guys selling phones in the streets. It is old school. Haven't actually tried to use it yet, but I like how small and simple it looks. I got back to my hotel room after my meetings today and there was a giant can of Raid sitting on my nightstand. I haven't actually seen any insects in my room, so it makes me a little curious what the cleaning staff seems to know about my room that I don't. I also stole an apple from the Air France lounge on Saturday and I'm saving it for that moment when I am desperate for some fresh fruit (they don't recommend eating the fruit here because of the water and I'm paranoid so I actually obey this rule and last time I was dreaming about fruit by the end of my trip). And my French is actually serving me pretty welll so far, it's definitely better than last time I was here (see: throwdown over gym key and the fact that I wasn't totally lost during my meetings). Oh, and an alarm clock isn't really necessary here - the rooster and goats next to my hotel room wake me up on time just fine.
I've finished two more books. One, My Name is Victoria Donda: The Extraordinary Story of One Woman's Struggle to Reclaim her True Identity (by - you guessed it - Victoria Donda) was a bit of a disappointment. It's a true story about an Argentinean woman who, when she was 27 years old, found out that the people she thought were her parents actually weren't and her true parents were actually desaparadicios and were killed by the military. It could've been a really interesting story, but the way she wrote was obnoxious and towards the end of the book, I just kept hoping each page I turned was the last one. She was very repetitive and extremely self-centered and self-important. I didn't learn as much as I would've liked about Argentina's turbulent history; instead, I learned more about the author's dating history and wardrobe choices than anything else.
The other book I just finished was Erik Larson's In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler's Berlin. Like his other book that I read, this was very well-written, well-researched, and really offered a vivid picture of mid-1930s Germany as Nazism was on the rise. I didn't realize how much the U.S. tried to placate Germany and avoid confrontations. And how... friendly we were to the Nazis. Hindsight is 20/20 I suppose.