We're Jason, Beth, Lee Anna, Sawyer, and Sarah Claire, a family of five living, learning, and laughing lots in Northern Africa.
We hope you can learn a little (and maybe laugh a little too) as you read about our latest adventures.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Out-of-Town Adventure, Part III

Our House, It’s a Very, Very, Very Fine House

Monday, August 14
We slept only 4 hours on the night before we left, so we were really happy to get into our room and lay down. It had three twin beds and a big window and door to the balcony. There were two 18” fluorescent lights, and one of them even worked (after a 2- to 5-minute warm-up period). What it didn’t have was an air conditioner. It had a small water heater in the bathroom, but we didn’t really need that, since it’s so warm here. (It’s a good thing we didn’t need it because it didn’t work anyway.) So basically, we never had to worry about running out of hot water.

We’ve been to friends’ homes who don’t have A/C, but this is the first time we’ve had to live in it for an extended period. In Texas, we had central air all over our house, and parked our air-conditioned car in our garage and drove to our air conditioned stores and offices. At our flat in the city, we have A/C in the living room and bedroom, but we walk outside to non-air-conditioned taxis and drive to stores with no A/C either. This week, we’ve reached a new level of “non-air-conditioned living.” Because of that, we’re getting to experience the weather a lot more personally. We opened the door and window to our balcony the first night and didn’t close them again until we left. We actually got cold a few times early in the morning and had to use our towels as blankets.

The bathroom is a story all it’s own. The shower was right next to the potty, but there’s no curtain or door or enclosure of any kind. When the water pressure is high enough for a shower (which it usually wasn’t in the morning), the shower sprays right on the potty. There’s a drain hole in the floor, and a squeegee to dry the floor when you’re finished. Sometimes when you turn on the shower or the sink faucet, absolutely nothing happens. Then you just have to wait until some other people turn theirs off, and it will make some gurgling sounds and then pick back up. The top of the sink has a cool "self-rinsing" feature. If you turn the water on less than full pressure, the water doesn't actually get into the sink, but gets everything at the top of the sink wet. Here are Jason and Lee Anna washing off after pool time one day:

The door to our room was kinda fun. They gave us a key and it worked fine to lock and unlock the door. The catch is that you couldn’t open the door from the inside without it. So on Monday afternoon, Beth took Lee Anna up to the room to put her down for a nap, but when she realized after 30 minutes that Lee Anna wasn’t going to go to sleep, they couldn’t get out. They just had to wait an hour until I came back and opened the door from the outside. When it happened to me the next day, I took apart the doorknob with my Leatherman and let myself out. After that, we started keeping our phones with us all the time, and leaving the key in the door, on the inside. We weren’t as concerned with security as we were with missing a meal because we couldn’t get out.

The beds were just big cotton batting. Not real soft. There was only one sheet on each bed, but we didn’t need much cover anyway. The pillows reached all the way across the bed. Lee Anna liked to lie down with her whole body on the pillow instead of just her head. She usually fell asleep there and then rolled off sometime during the night. We just had 3 beds, so Jason and I each had one and Lee Anna and Sawyer shared a bed. After Lee Anna rolled off her pillow, we put it in between them so she wouldn’t roll onto Sawyer during the night. Here they are during nap time one day:

Coming Tomorrow: Meal Time Posted by Picasa

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