Crossing into Senegal and to the Zebrabar

Saint Louis Travel Blog

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local transport, and this a good one

We rode to Diama border crossing avoiding Rosso because of hassle involved and getting ripped off plus an expensive ferry crossing.  Would have preferred to bush camp close to the border giving lots of time to cross in case of delays like before to avoid night riding, circumstances didn’t allow it so it was a push across the border.  We rode through a beautiful national park, saw many different birds feeding in the water and four Wart Hogs dashed out and ran along the dirt road for ages, wouldn’t want to mess with those!  The 100km on the dirt track was pretty easy and you could have a little fun but would be different if it was wet and muddy!

The crossing was straight forward once you paid the usual bribes, if you don’t pay they keep your passport or what ever documentation you’ve handed over.  These officials are the scum of the earth of officials, we get off lightly as we’ve seen them going through the locals gear and just taking what they like, mobile phones, cloths anything to the point if a shirt doesn’t fit they’ll go back out and take the next size, leaches!  Once we got to the Senegal side a guy wanted paying for using the government bridge, so I made a dash pass the other two and made at him with the bike shouting.

  A Mexican stand off.  So I left my bike at the barrier and went in search of the police who was a young guy in a football shirt.  Got him over explaining this guy wouldn’t let us pass (there all in it together but it’s worth standing up to them to make a point).  Stuart and Nige started to play the humanitarian card as the had related aid work in Africa with newspaper clippings from home, I just held in the back ground.  We got through without paying and the barrier guy looked at me and said “you crazy man!” to which I smiled.  Almost got away with paying the 5Euro certificate to import my bike but was now 10Euro as it was a public holiday, the guy came running out as I started my bike, how well I tried…  There is not much of a chance getting away from these back handers but I’ll always object and make it difficult for them because if you just hand over cash, like a lot of people do without a word, then the price will keep raising.
my punchers getting repaired the right way, an iron full of hot coals melting the rubber patch on
  And I always have my parting shoot, a strong shake of the hand and a big smile saying “poug na hone!” (as I said before it’s Irish for kiss my ass – spelt wrong obviously), then leave the border with a big smile.  Why should I let them piss me off for the rest of the day?

Riding into Senegal was a big change from poor, dry, sandy Mauritania (I must say the people where very nice there, even at the check points).  Senegal had trees!  Lots of trees compared to Mauritania.  Such a difference moving south those few kms south or maybe Martina had been stripped bare of its wood?  This is a big problem I’ve noticed riding in Morocco also and leads to serious land erosion. 

As we entered Saint Louis my steering felt very spongy, my first flat!  Oh well, what can you say?  I had only been thinking earlier that day if you didn’t get a puncher would that mean you didn’t do a real over land trip?  Guess I am because I turned out I had two punchers in the tube.  Didn’t take long to put a new tube in the front and I was amazed by the size of the audience I had when I looked around at the end, about thirty kids and some adults.

At the Zebrabar we meet the Landrover crew again and had my first cold beer since Morocco.  It was like a moment from the old black and white movie “Ice cold in Alex” the movie where the group of World War II guys (plus a German) enjoyed a cold beer after a difficult crossing over the desert together in a Landrover.  But Tim was missing so the next beer I had for him (haahaahaaa).  Nige and Stuart left the next morning for Dakar but I want to sit still and see St Louis 20km away.  So I moved from our large on suite bungalow to the luxury of my tent and I spent the next couple of days resting in the quite space of the National Park around me, with hammock from the bike to a tree I was very happy.  I was invited to eat with the Landrover crew and Sue made great food.

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local transport, and this a good o…
local transport, and this a good …
my punchers getting repaired the r…
my punchers getting repaired the …
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photo by: ulis