When we lived in France, people often commented on how romantic our lives must be. All those long, sunset walks along the Champs Elysées and all. If they only knew how alive and thriving romance can be when you live in Senegal…

The Corniche road follows the coast from our end or town into downtown Dakar – and most of it even has sidewalks!

I mean, who needs the Champs Elysées when you’ve got the Corniche along the ocean? Very soon after our arrival, we discovered the Senelec-imposed ritual of candlelight dinners during the frequent power cuts. And I must say that brushing hands with your husband in the common bowl can be as spicy as the piece of rice-covered fish you were reaching for.

But yesterday morning, romance in Senegal went to whole new level. After months of water shortages and pressure so low that it dribbled out in sporadic skinny streams, we decided to take the plunge and invest in a water pump. The goal is to boost water up to our apartment and into our reservoir tank so that we can shower in the normal fashion.

As part of the pump installation process, our reservoir had to be drained. The message from the plumber was basically, “You won’t have water from now until I finish, which should be soon.” Soon, of course, is open to all kinds of interpretation. So we filled our buckets, bottles and jugs and went into rationing mode.

After two days of this, we decided to heat water on the stove for bucket showers. It’s been in the upper 60s in the early morning, which is awesome for everything BUT dumping cool water over your head. Cheikh filled the biggest pot we have and set it over the gas flame to heat. I grabbed towels and plastic cups. (Want tips on taking bucket shower? See this post.)

Bucket shower prep

Warm bucket shower for two. Does it get any more romantic? I think not. In my vast 7.5-year experience of being married, I’ve learned that romance isn’t always about the candles and the long walks. Often it’s about being able to enjoy time with each other and laughing together. And yeah – you laugh when a bucket shower à deux is how you start your day.

The end of the day had some laughs too. The plumber finished and water whooshed out at gorgeous speeds. (I actually got all teary-eyed when the super-hot water flowed into the bathtub and it started filling! Sure, the water was brown, but who cared at that point?)

First attempt at Pape’s bath. The second was much clearer!

That evening we took glorious showers and Pape had a bath in an actual tub.

But apparently the pump worked too well! At 2am the water heater tank sprang a leak from the increased pressure… and the tank is in the linen closet. So we have sheets, blankets, washcloths, tablecloths, hand towels and bath towels drying all over the apartment. And the plumber is back.

But we laughed. So that made it awesome.