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Monday 14 Dec
Dakar, Senegal


Unlike most of my experiences in West African cities, this isn't about refuelling and planning the next journey, but about tying up loose ends in time for the deadline which is my flight to Cape Town. I will leave Jo to the complete uncertainty of Mauritania and trying to cross to Morocco.

As predicted, Dakar is big, busy, and European. But the energetic commerce of the city doesn't mean that it's easy to find the things you need. Walking in the general area of the market inevitably leads to guides/hangers on who absolutely won't take no for an answer. There are ridiculous situations where we go into a shop, our stalker insists on "showing us" things which we have no interest in, and we explain to the shopkeeper that we can't possibly buy anything while we are so harassed. No-one seems to be able to do much about the situation. In any case, it seems that if you leave the market without buying anything, (how much you would have to buy I don't know), it will be to the sound of assorted cries of "racist".

On my last night in Dakar, I escaped an attempted mugging in the main street. This is the sort of thing that made us grateful to be staying in a secure and comfortable hotel.

Anyway, most of this was made up for by an enjoyably peaceful last day spent on the Île de Gorée. This is an island near the city which is famous for its involvement in the slave trade, where the pace is relaxed and there is lots of colonial architecture. There was some confusion about museums which were closed, but where we were allowed to enter anyway (I wonder if the guy at the door pocketed the money?), or where the guides who meet the arriving ferry told us they could get us into things which were supposed to be closed. Anyway, this wasn't very important and we concentrated on appreciating the atmosphere, trying to understand the history, and eating seafood on the beach.


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Perambulation 2009

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14 Dec | Dakar, Senegal

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