Wednesday, December 15, 2010


In river Senegal
Unfortunately, the Italian camper could not enter Senegal. In Dakar the Italians were asked to pay 500 euros for the document and, eventually, they should have passed through certain posts to have the document stamped and pay more. In addition, they had to get new Mauritania visas from Dakar, where they spent 2 days in waiting and got charged 80 euros instead of the regular 34. We parted with Chiara and Simone with a bit of sorrow and many good memories, and continued towards Saint Louis where we had an arrangement with a couch-surfer. We had no troubles reaching Saint Louis and even we managed to do it only with two cars, the second of which was a 4x4, driving with more than 150 km/h on the narrow and riddled road. 

The bridge in Saint Louise
Lamp- our host
on the streets of Saint Louise

in the public transport
Lamp- the Rastaman who hosted us lives with his family around 2 hugebaobabs. There were many small sheds surrounding a sandy yard where women cook and do the washing and several sheep sit tied like dogs. We listened to reggae night and day, Lamp finished Gena’s rasta with a special substance from resin and wax (bur da karite), we drank tea and ate typical Senegal foods- fish and rice (yassa) and lach (couscous with powdered milk and sugar). Lamp makes djembes, but unfortunately he did not speak any English, so we just used signs and used the language of music and smiles. 

Captured pelican
The second bridge in Saint Luise is out of order

Dauda and his acossiation have 5 schools with talibe (children who study Koran and beg in the streets)

We stayed there for 5 days, walking aroundSaint Louis, and taking a boat peninsula(Lamp lives on the island). Saint Louis is a nice small town with many artists, music iseverywhere any time! This is the old sea capital of Western Africa that used to be used for trading slaves and goods. We went to the beach south of the town, on the way to the beach there were many houses built straight on the sand, and kids were using the ocean as a toilet without any embarrassment. Lamp gave us each some amulet called gri-gri which was made by his father and was to protect us. In return, he wanted 25 kg of rice! He also wanted almost all of our clothes. We exchanged a Jamaican T- shirt, a woolen scarf and a hat and a mountain pants for a reggae pajama set and a hat for the dreads. In Senegal everything seemed to be relatively expensive and we had to buy too many things for Lamp and his friends, our pockets started getting empty and we decided to move somewhere without an ATM- machine and stores. In general, when people here see you are white they automatically think you are very rich and you came here to give them all your money. In most of the stores we ended up getting twice as high prices as the real ones which did not look good at all minding the lack of any choice. We ate mostly bread and every now and then we would go to some of the local restaurants here which resemble wooden benches with a simple small table with eggs and potatoes and would have an omelet with potatoes for about 1 euro. Otherwise, in the houses everyone eats from one bowl and drink from the same glass. 
the tea is served after loooong pouring into the cup and back

Lach - looks like wet sand, but we ate it with pleasure

After buying 5 breads and some local chocolate for spreading (quite awful, but you get used to it) we started for Lang du Barberri – a place where river Senegal goes into the ocean after going for kilometers along the beach. We went there by one truck and one pick up truck. We pitched our tent in a wooded area just outside the National Park. We didn’t have money to enter the park, but we were able to walk around and we saw some very beautiful birds and millions of crabs. The landscape is very wild, there are couple of villages nearby, lakes, a river big enough to need a boat to cross it so you can reach the ocean.
the strange crabs with only one big white pinch were everywhere

We camped there for 2 days in total relaxing. After that we started again for Dakar, hoping to be able to take a shower somewhere. A police pick up took us from the entrance of the National Park up to the crossing for Dakar. The guy wanted money at first, but after explaining that we are hitchhikers he loaded us in the back. After that two smiling Senegalese took us to the next town, and at the end a Frenchman of Moroccan origin, who was working in Dakar. His English was very good. He told us, that he is a writer and is travelling a lot. We stopped to see the baobab forest on the way to Dakar. We were thinking of Exupery who was repairing his airplane in the deserts of Mauritania and stayed often in Saint Louise, we thought of the Little Prince and the baobab, that was going to take over his planet. If you go only straight you will not to go very farSo we made Sofia-Dakar- entirely by hitchhiking. 

We stayed in a village - suburb of Dakar on couchsurfing at Dali and his family with lots of sisters and kids. Dali was sick of malaria for the second time. We bathed at last with a bucket of water. We haven’t seen a shower in Senegal so far. The water is very expensive and it stops often. Electricity also stops very often. We’ve been drinking only tap water, sometimes we filter it, but most of the time not, but we haven’t had any problems so far.  
In the morning we hitchhiked a car, that left us in front of Mali embassy in Dakar. There we had to take the next visa. In the evening after misunderstanding with 2 coachsurfers we had to stay on the street with no place to sleep. Going back to the suburbs was hard and expensive, and the hotels in the city were too expensive for us. We stayed in a place close to some security guys and police, waiting for the dawn. At some point the policemen told us to go and sleep on the sidewalk next to a grocery market. There were lots of mosquitoes, cockroaches and even ratsso we decided to pitch the tent. This is how wecamped in the centre of Dakar, guarded by the Police.  

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