0253. Chased by the Glue Sniffing Zombies (Sgl 05--revisit)

Kaolack Travel Blog

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I visited Kaolack on my 2004 trip and frankly found it to be a chaotic, dirty and charmless--compared to other Senegalese cities.  The market area is knee deep in rubbish by the end of the day and outside a three block radius there's almost no architectural distinctiveness to the city.  But then back in the US, I met a Muslim African American who said that his father had sent him to receive his education in at a famous ancient Islamic school there... So I'm coming back to see what I missed last time.

On the way I manage to get a couple good shots of the magnificent baobab trees of this region and traditional little mud and palm leaf hamlets... Love them.  They might not be the most comfortable sort of housing, but there's a special charm in preserving an ancient method of construction--besides, they allow people to be so much more self sufficient.

.. all the construction materials are right there in their immediate environment...

Get off the bush taxi near the western edge of town and wander around towards the city center.  See a couple of interesting mosques here and there, but nothing that looks like that famous school. Reach downtown and the market, head down to the modern Japanese built fish market--a sharp contrast with the scruffy surroundings.   There does seem to be a quiet little spot that there by the lake where I figure I could take a video clip. Folks in the area seemed a little shifty, but I choose to override the voice of caution. 

Immediately I’m surrounded by a gang of kids--who turned out to be an entertaining audience... take a few couple of pictures of them, bud don't get my video clip.

..

It's only Five PM, but the market is starting to look empty, so I figure I'd better head on my way.  Suddenly two tall fellows pop out of nowhere and start grabbing at my camera and guitar.  I'm pretty sure they're not asking for an encore...

I manage to back up to a carpentry shop that’s still open, where two guys tell the two glue sniffing thieves to back off... They do... I wait for a bit, then decide I'd better make a run for it...

So I speed off though the semi abandoned market with the zombies in hot pursuit... This does not look good at all...

Then I look back again--suddenly I have TWENTY people chasing me!  but they aren't thieves--these are the kids that I'd entertained by the lake, and they're rushing to my rescue.

... they surround me and escort me out of the market area...

But the adventure isn't over... once we reach the downtown area, I thank my guardian angels and they head on their way--but my very determined zombies do not... they don’t attack me, because there are too many people around, but they're clearly stalking me, ready to pounce as soon as the crowd thins out...

Where's there a policeman when you really need one?

After trying to dodge them going around several corners, to no avail, I figure I need a new strategy.  I hop on the back of a scooter, (used in lieu of taxis here in Kaolack) and tell the driverto get me out of there.... The zombies come after us at a full sprint...

We go around a few corners--and into a traffic jam.

.. Yep, there come my zombies, more determined then ever... This is starting to feel like a real life Terminator movie.

Just at the last second we squeeze out of there--only to get stuck in a sand trap a half a block down...

Again, at the last second, with wheels spinning, we finally escape from their clutches...

I have my Hero drop me off at the Mision Catolique--which doubles as a hostel... and gratefully pay him for his service.  I feel a sudden rush of relief to be safe within these walls.  Once I pay for my room, quite frankly, I just want to spend the rest of the evening chilling out in my room.  

But as they say, you got to get right back on the horse after you fall off—I can’t let this experience turn me into a coward.

  So I head outside once again--this time with no guitar, camera, luggage or money in my pocket.  And I stay away from the downtown area, assuming the Terminators is still out there looking for me.

Thankfully, no more zombies, no more wild chases.  Finally I head back to my room, proud of myself for not letting fear get the best of me.

Next morning I go out and take my video clip right near the hostel.  I stop at a little stall to get a bag of water.  The fellow tells me that he also can fry me up some eggs if I want--sounds good.  I’m intrigued because this guy looks Arab, so I ask him if he’s from Morocco. 

"My father is Moroccan, but I've never been there--can't afford to make the trip..." he says sadly.

As I leave I wonder what it must be like to be a half-Moroccan stuck in Senegal, never able to leave it…

And that was my Kaolack adventure, and first time I’ve really felt threatened since starting out on this adventure.  Hopefully my luck will hold up through the rest of the trip.

 

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Kaolack
photo by: Manu32