After I had been shown my room — so beautiful with those beams crossing the ceiling and an ensuite toilet-sink-shower room tiled tinily in cobalt, the only room on the ground floor — to let me be closest to guests’ dinner dishes and other needs, I guess — and called Ura, the Basque word for water — Alberta Clara brought me to the upstairs kitchen and gave me to prepare us all a lunchtime salad of tomato, cucumber, carrot and lettuce from the garden, tinned tuna, and a packaged beet that I watched her cut the mold from but later tasted had been deeply penetrated by the flavor of funk. She did other things in the kitchen and the surrounding rooms in which their family lives and kept up an instructive monologue in a mix of French and English on the difference between desayuno, almuerzo, cena, and comida, between cocina abajo or arriba. Very helpful, but amid the multitask she missed that I was leaving the peel on the cucumber until it was too late to correct to her preference, and we were both embarrassed.
Hi. I’m in the Sahara. Helping these Berber guys install toilets in the new toilets tent because the existing one got buried in sand. There is sand everywhere. It’s in my shoes and my socks and my bed and my hair and my teeth and building up behind my eyeballs. They don’t even fight it. Everyone just goes around barefoot except when the sand is too hot to touch, which is approximately between ten AM and six PM. Around midnight or one AM last night, when it had finally cooled off, we took a mattress up into one of the dunes to not bother the tourists who were sleeping outside and lay in the sand and smoked shisha and looked at the stars. Today for lunch we had a tagine because Aziz asked me if I wanted tagine or something I couldn’t understand and I said tagine. He says tomorrow I will be the one to make it, Inshallah. Everything is going pretty well given that these guys speak no English and I, no Arabic and no Berber; we’re getting by in French even though theirs is even worse than mine. Now I have to go because Souleymane has the hookah up and running. Sorry you’re not here. I love you,