Monday, January 07, 2008

Day 3

Day 3/First night/day in DAKAR 1/5

As we continued to our hotel our bus was packed tightly where most of our luggage was packed on top of the bus. When we arrived at the hotel Justin and I received our key which was connected to a key ring that in the shape of a lion. We had to walk to the other side of the building to get to our room which had a TV, 2 beds, a bathroom, and a smelly mosquito net. It was now pushing 1 AM and we had yet to eat dinner, so that we did in the hotel. Unknowingly we made a few mistakes at dinner. One is that is not polite to pick at your food instead you are to eat everything as if "it was your last meal." Also we are to eat different parts of the meal at different times, not just simply load our plates and eat. The food was very good which consisted of tuna and salad, and a main course of either chicken or fresh fish. I chose the fish and was not disappointed. It was now 2 AM and we had yet to contact home and we began tring doing so but the cell phone did not have the correct type of credit in order to make the call. I tried using my calling card but was unable to do so because of some difficulties and I was really tired and wanted to go to sleep. Finally getting into bed at 3 we had to be awake in about 4 hours to eat breakfast and get our journey in for the day. We woke up and got a shower, packed up and had breakfast which consisted of bread, warm soupy yogurt, fruit juice, and some fruit. We were to leave early in the morning, but we were not packed up to leave to see Dakar, this was because we packed too much stuff. It couldn’t have been that our van was too small because they will pack as much as they can onto a car. There are luggage racks on the top of trucks, vans, and cars that are piled high with stuff tied down hoping that nothing falls off. When riding in a van, vendors can pick tourists out right away and approach the van windows holding trinkets to sell. They are very, very, very persistent on selling what they have. I wanted to buy a djembe and at the first market a guy named Ali approached me asking what I wanted. I told him I was looking for a drum and he told me that he would come find me with a drum, that he did and he was focused on making the sale. He started with a high price but then came down to 20,000 CFA which is about 45 to 50 US dollars. We were advised not to buy anything at this particular market because we would continue to see the same items at different locations usually for a better price. From this market we viewed a military out look which was highly valued land for it is the west most part of Africa. Off of this tip are small islands which the US wants to buy off of Senegal, but the Senegalese do not want to sell this piece of land because they believe that it might sacrifice some of their freedom by letting other countries have strong military power at such a close location. From this high point we were also able to see Goree Island which we would later visit during the day. Goree Island was known as a large slave port. In the pictures there is one with me in a room stretching my arms from wall to wall. In this particular room they would keep about 20 men. The women were treated a little better if they were considered fruitful and had a little more room. If you want to imagine 20 people in that size of a room, consider stuffing an elevator full of people and shutting the door and the only way to know it was daylight was through a small opening in the wall. There were no “bathrooms” in the men’s rooms but there were small holes in the floors in the women’s holding cells. The surprising part to me is that it was Christians that controlled much of the trading that went on, and in 1992 Pope John Paul visited this area and apologized for all of the mistakes Christians had made in the area and asked the Senegalese people for forgiveness. Goree Island was a very nice island with a disturbing history.We then walked to the other side of the island where my new girl friend Nanu wanted me to buy some necklaces. I bought one necklace off of her but she tried tricking me by offering me a necklace for $1 but then switched necklaces when I told he I would buy it and then said that it would cost me $2 for the one that I wanted. Then I told her that I was not going to buy it so she made the sale and I got the necklace for one dollar. She continued to follow us around asking us to buy other beaded necklaces and bracelets off of her. We then went into this outside store where the public vendors are not allowed, in this store they made sand pictures from sands from across the whole country of Senegal. Nanu followed us around the island and as we boarded the ferry to go back to I noticed she had changed clothes and was headed back to the city. There was something that upset me in the city and it was that a girl in the group offered children hair bands. She put out her hand with the bands exposed and it seemed as if it was a feeding frenzy with sharks. As we went back to our waiting van we were again approached by sellers. I said goodbye to Nanu as she hurrily ran to catch a bus. In Africa people love rally racing and it is very obvious in their driving. The roads have craters for potholes and they zigzag avoiding these monstorous holes. Sometimes you cannot avoid the potholes and have to slow to a crawl just so that the vehicle survives the experience. Later we arrived at our hut for the evening which was an accommodating resort located near Pink Lake, which we would see the next day. We ate dinner where Buba toasted to everyone in the group before we ate which made our meal cold. With the dinner we would have sauces that accompanied almost every course which gave the food a great taste. We then went to our mud hut for a nights rest.

1 comment:

Mom said...

Just reading about what you're doing and seeing exhausts me. The pictures are beautiful. I can't wait for the personal explanations when you get home. Don't barter away all your clothes because we can't afford that. I wish I could barter at Macy's like you are. Save every memory.