Saturday, March 21, 2009

Wednesday afternoon we went to the Marché Sandaga and wandered through the stalls buying this and that. Both Ann Marie and I purchased cloth to have outfits made. I also but some cloth and some beads and craft objects, including some dyes for Christine. On the way back to the hotel, a pair of Land Rovers passed us, equipped for a tour. I peered in to see the drivers, both blond haired, the sight of the cars reminded me of Dmitri and if I remember correctly, he should still be somewhere in Africa.

In the morning AM and I had rented surfboards while Chloe and Judith stalked us with video cameras. It will be quite a blooper reel, me with several comical dismounts and AM being absolutely pummeled when she misjudged a large wave. I watched it happen and I held my breath till she popped up and I could see she was OK.

Judith was up for joining me on a bus trip into the countryside in order to see what life was like outside the city. Dakar itself is very modern and if you were to approach by sea and only saw the buildings in the distance, you might assume it were somewhere else in the world and not Africa. It has a reputation for street crime, mostly pick-pockets and snatch and run (must have learned that from the French colonists). We didn’t have a problem but we stayed in populated areas and at night took a taxi.

Leaving the city for the countryside is like stepping back in time about seventy-five years, but that is common in the developing world. The land is dry and reminded me a lot of the American southwest without the mountains. Most of the farms were small on irrigated land. The bus stopped at a couple of towns as much to give us a chance to stroll the local market as impart knowledge about the area. That was OK; the people were friendly and seemed glad to see us. They were probably happy to see us leave also.

At one stop, I struck up a conversation with a woman who is traveling around the world with her husband and children in one of those large trucks you see in Africa converted to a motorhome. Our conversation reminded me that we were here as tourists and how much I would like to return as a traveler; perhaps in another stage of my life.



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