One of the unsung blessings of life in a third world country is that things that are regulated in more developed parts of the world just…well, aren’t. For instance, given that the FDA is nowhere to be found, we get real sugar in our Senegalese coke. We’re under absolutely no obligation to bother with silly trivialities like stop signs whilst driving-simply because that there are none. And jaywalking? It doesn’t exist in a country that has yet to discover sidewalks. The world is your oyster!
But perhaps my personal favorite Senegalese oversight is the fact that the death traps masquerading as rusty bumper cars at Dakar’s ghetto fabulous amusement park [better known to locals as "Magic Land"] are permitted to recklessly barrel along at blazing speeds normally reserved for Nascar racetracks.
This place would have been shut down years ago back in the Home of the Brave.
It’s important to note that there is very little concern given to ensuring that things like bumpers are on said cars. Which might have a little something to do with why I can’t walk today. The whiplash from thoughtlessly smashing into other metal cars at the speed of sound is wreaking havoc on my back.
However, the hours of quality time that I intend to spend with my chiropractor after I get home are entirely worth the hysterical evening I spent with my team and our friends Laura and Karen at Magic Land last night.
…but while he’s rearranging my back, I probably ought to mention the mechanical bull, too.
Try getting thrown from that sucker thirty eight times. [I am nothing, if not persistent.] Maintaining your balance on a mechanical bull is a delicate art form that I have yet to perfect. [I refuse to call it a science until they reinstate Pluto as a planet.]
My Grandmother says it’s trashy to ride a mechanical bull in public.
…personally, I think that the real cause for concern here ought to be if I start doing it alone.
Now, have you ever seen the oversized pirate ships at State Fairs that swing wildly from front to back, making your stomach feel like it’s somewhere in the general vicinity of your eyeballs? Well, I rode one yesterday-and Christy managed to photo document the entire, excruciating experience. Note my happy, pre-ride expression:
Ignorance is bliss.
Here’s our first indication that there’s a problem. Christy captured the precise moment that I looped both of my arms around Dayton’s and started hollering like a banshee. It coincided with the terror that overwhelmed me as the machine began to violently lurch and creak, and I realized that there was a distinct possibility that I would either fly out of my seat, or the ship would snap and send me plumetting to my death.
Either outcome would have been terribly unfortunate. I am, after all, just 32 days away from that caramel latte in DC!
Let’s zoom in, shall we?
Ahoy, demure Muslim culture! I fit right in.
Alas, it only got worse. Terror is not a good look for me. Throw in an unhealthy dose of nausea, and this is what you get:
I’ll take the stop signs and give back my sugar cane Coke-just let me live!
This was how I spent the duration of the ride. Screaming for dear life, my face miserably buried in Dayton’s shoulder, peeved beyond belief that after everything I’ve survived in Dakar, a ghetto amusement park ride was going to be what finally killed me. Insultingly, I’d like the record to show that I have never, in two years of living with him, seen Dayton laugh as hard as he did last night.
“Guffawed” might be more appropriate. And I have yet to use that word today.
Miraculously, all eight of us walked away in one piece. Which really, might be the only magical part of the whole experience.
Well, except for the bumper cars.
Now if you’ll excuse me, it’s time for me to hobble off to bed.