Day: February 4, 2009

The Af-Recap

You might have heard that I recently went to Africa. Well, here’s the recap. 😉

It all started with Transportalooza.

It took 31 hours to get from my house to the hotel in Dakar (36 including timezone changes). I took my car to get to the train station to take a bus that took me to Montreal to take a plane that took me to Paris, where I took another plane that took me to Dakar, where I took a minivan that finally got me to the hotel.

Of course, that is not all there is to say about the trip there. There was the 3 hour delay in Paris, where we spent almost 12 hours doing nothing in the airport, that was fun. Turbulence was insane over Bordeaux, because of this storm. I really thought I was not going to make Dakar. I’ve never been shaken that much in a plane before. I guess we all know how that ends, right? 😉


Bad Bob enjoys a snooze in CDG.

The city

Well, Dakar is Dakar. Really there’s nothing more I could say that I didn’t already say the last time I was there, eleven months ago.

The Hotel



The weather

One month earlier makes a huge difference heat-wise, the temperature stayed in the low 20-24C (68-75F), prompting the Africans to call this a “cold wave”. That made me laugh. And sweat.

The food

The first time around, we went all out by mainly eating at local restaurants and the hotel restaurant. We ate a lot of fish and seafood, and yassa chicken. Oh how we ate yassa chicken. I think I couldn’t look at chicken and/or onions for a good month after I came back.

This time, we stayed on the safe side for dinners, and frequented tourist-y establishments, like Café de Rome, La Galette and Toukouleur. Breakfasts at the local Laeticia (Croissants, pastries and good coffee) and lunches at the hotel restaurant. Not surprisingly, the lunches didn’t sit well with me. Like you know, once you go ballistic…


I was not allowed to take pictures inside the Toukouleur. Like I cared.

Too much preparation?

In order to minimize the chance of spending about a week on the toilet, I thought to myself: Hey, I should bring some snacks, some trail mix and some power bars. I did. When I got back home, I learnt that both the power bars and the peanut butter snacks I brought were the object of a recall for fear of salmonella. I think this puts to rest the “You can never be too prepared” saying. Apparently, you can.

The people

Whether it was my really really extremely nice and intelligent coworkers (did I mention they discovered and read my blog now?) or the Africans participants, the people are the most interesting part of the whole adventure.

And thus concludes my Africa recap.

What? Not enough? Too nice? I see, you want the dirt too, right? LOL! Here we go:

The technology

Professionally, it’s really really really (you get the point) hard to give the participants what they want. The technology stream wants to learn how to manage a server, and we can’t get a decent connexion out of the hotel. This made my job next to impossible. Somehow, we still delivered…

Personally, it’s totally awful to be over a week without being able to talk to LovelyWife and the kids, Tweet at all hours of the day of just approve comments on my blog. Call me a big softie, but I missed my family something fierce. It was worst than the first time.

The schedule

Working 12 hours a day for 7 days straight does not make Mikey happy. What do you mean I can’t take some time off now that I’m back? ’nuff said. The only saving grace is that I was not alone that was really tired during the week.


Ibrahima experiments those “Power naps” he keeps hearing about.

The bloopers

Of course, spending an extended period of time in close proximity with five other coworkers is bound to create tragic or comic situations. I call these bloopers.


In the subway in Paris

The disappearing laptop

Wicked Wendy had her laptop stolen. It was very sad. Well, you know me, I always want to fix things and find solutions. Or do I?


Nobody’s going to steal this one. And in never crashes.

The 4th floor

One day, Wicked Wendy took the stairs all the way up to the 9th to our rooms. Yes, we had the whole 9th floor but don’t get too excited it’s a fairly small floor. Anyhoo, Wicked Wendy in the staircase and the rest of us in the elevator passed each other on the 4th floor, and Wicked Wendy told us that the sound of us laughing as we passed her on the fourth floor was awesome. After that, we all just laughed like idiots whenever we passed the 4th floor in the elevator.


This is the good picture of Wendy.

The Negociator

But hands down, the award for the funniest sh*t ever on this trip belongs to Pat Smith, aka Bad Bob, aka the Negociator. You see Bad Bob is a really really nice man, and negotiating a lower price is not really is forte. I don’t know if it’s a nervous thing, or something else, but it created really funny situations on both trips. Last time someone was asking 2k for a pair of pants, and Pat offered 5k for 2 pairs. I’ve never seen a sales guy that confused. This time takes the cake.

We met this guy in the market, he said he went by the name “Paco Rabanne”. He gave Pat his cell number, and Pat promised to buy some hats from him on Friday. When Friday rolled around, Paco showed up with 5 hats, asking for 3500XCFAs a piece. Pat proceeded to multiply by SIX instead of FIVE. Paco is a nice man, so he pointed out that it was only 5 hats, and that the total should be 17,500XCFAs (roughly 50$). Pat offered something lower, and bartering was on. In the end, Pat was offering 12K, and Paco wanted a little more. Pat put 12K on the table and said:

“Listen Paco, this is all the money I have, this is the best I can do.”

As he was saying that, he illustrated this by pulling his hands out of his pockets and showing Paco and extra 3K he had hidden away.

Still, 5 hats for 15k is not a bad deal. 😉


Bad Bob is a Rockstar.


So there you have it. A recap.