Dakar Travel Blog› entry 12 of 37 › view all entries
Today was tourist day. Take the air conditioned bus around town to take pictures. Get an introduction to some basic cultural sites that could act as sources for our practicum.
First stop was the cool light house at the top of one of the hills north of the city. We climbed to the top to see the "second largest light in Africa," according to the keeper who stayed there. There was a gorgeous courtyard with vibrant colors around the lighthouse, trees creating awesome shadows. Coupled with the stark white walls surrounding the compound and the sea breeze, it felt like we were in Greece.
After the lighthouse, we headed to a mosque located very near the ocean. After discreetly taking some photos around the religious site (we quickly found out that we were optimal targets for getting yelled at), we headed towards the water.
There sat boat houses and boats - the brightly colored ones that I described before. Fishermen shacks were all around, the men lay in the shade or untangling nets as the bright blue waves crashed on shore. Kids playing gladly posed for us. Rothany got some good pictures of a girl pouring water on herself from the well.
We then head back downtown to the old train station, built by the French, I believe. It's brightly colored facade is quite different from the more recent buildings surrounding it. We briefly explored it and the trains behind it, then headed right next door to the Mali market. Thousands of wooden stalls squished side-to-side selling herbs, cola nuts, fabrics, baskets, jewelry, gourd bowl, inidentiable liquids, and more. However, it was mid-day, the sun scorching. So we decided after barely touching the surface of the market, we would catch lunch first and return to explore later.
We found a nice Italian-type restaurant with a cool, shaded patio and fans. We couldn't understand all the fancy dish names, so guessed as best we could to choose something decent. The order took about 40 minutes to arrive at our table, but it was so worth it. I ended up with a spicy calamari sautée and creamy spinach (kind of like Boston Market's). It was so nice to have actual vegtables.
Because our lunch took so long, we barely had time to explore the market before we had to meet the others at the bus. I hope I can find time to return there later and do some browsing.
Our final stop was an artist colony located near the national stadium, which was built by chinese workers. The workers had lodgings built right next door, and once they vacated these series of long houses with individual rooms, the founder of the colony turned the spaces into individual studios for different artists to work. Sculptures, painters, papermakers, leathercraftsmen, Senegalse glass artists, and more. All in one place.
Ken showed us some of the artists he met before. We even visted the same guys who came to SIT and taught us the fine art of batik. Some very cool characters work there, and I also want to go back and maybe purchase some local African art.
After we were let go, I headed to Les Ambassades simply because I didn't want to get back home to early and have to waste time staring into space. I ordered a nice hot tea and an ice cream cone. Yum. At this point, I realized I was practically out of Purell. Crap. I wonder how I can fix this conundrum.
Back home, one of my uncles comes to me holding a brand new light bulb. For my light in my room that hasn't been working in a week! Finally, I can stop using my flashlight. The lightbulb is bright, but I have to flick it or twist it by hand in addition to flipping the switch.
Capping off the day, one of the women comes up to me asking for some medicine for a headache. Yup - the traveling Westerner will definitely have a drugstore in her suitcase. I give her two of my Tylenol. Hey, I haven't been using them. Someone might as well.