Wrap Up

Dakar Travel Blog

 › entry 36 of 37 › view all entries

I wake up and have to go to Les Ambassades. I don't know what else to do. It's become a habit that I can't break. I always see the most interesting mix of characters at my favorite breakfast spot. This whole trip they've been telling us to dress conservatively and not show to much skin. But then, a very voluptuous girl overflowing out of her short shorts and low-cut shirt caught me off guard. Yup - sure locals are sketched out by too much skin. I just found it humourously ironic.

I head back to my homestay familiy's house to say a VERY brief farewell. I guess that makes it easy for me. At least I came back and said goodbye to my grandmother (which is what they got mad at me for not doing when I left the first time).

Next, back to HLM. I grab a Fanta Citron at the nearby On the Run, then head back to the tailor to pick up my clothes. They turn out really well and can't wait to wear them at home. I hand the woman a piece of paper on which I wrote phone numbers and info for the US Embassy for trying to get a visa. While I wait for my outfit to be finished and altered, I play with her son Mohammed, the cutest boy on the face of the planet. He's playing basic games on their familiy digital camera with doubles as a calander, mini gameboy, and clock. Don't be fooled, it's really rudimentary, but lots of fun.

Lunchtime back at the hotel. I decide to try on my new clothes, which fit to a tee. So, I wear the top. Sarah gives me repeated compliments about it. I don't think she's been that nice or even talked to me that much this entire trip.

Afterwards, Lilli and I walk over to the post office. Yes, that is a nice long walk down the main street - at least half an hour. It was so great to really talk with her one-on-one. I finally felt comfortable with her. I think that's my problem. I am only comfortable interacting with someone new when it is just me and them. With others, I tend to recluse and let the others dominate any conversation. I wish I could have gotten this opportunity earlier in the trip to get to bond with Lilli like that. I knew she was a nice girl, but she was extremely sweet, more that I expected.

After mailing the rest of my postcards, Lilli and I seperate ways for the time being, and I grab a taxi downtown to spend the last of my CFA and pick up last minute gifts and souvenirs. As the driver brought us closer to town, the streets leading up to the president's mansion were all decorated with banners and ribbons. That's right. Sarkozy's in town on a political visit. It was so neat to see all the Franco-Senegalsese harmony posters with painted portraits of Wade and Sarkozy at either end. French-Senegal flags and "Vivre l'amite" posters were everywhere. It was a big deal that he was coming to visit, and downtown was ready for it. I could tell. I wish I had my camera with me to take pictures of it all, but unfortunately, left my expensive piece of equipment at Epeci'A.

I basically walk around a lot, exploring random streets and killing time. It was nice just to wander. I check out the CitySport, the one of the few western, McDonalized stores probably in the whole country. Think of how special this place is. It is a double-story store. Two levels, with a large light installment of a running man and woman in the appropriate Nike gear on the back wall. Yup. Fancy place for the few expats in town. I should have felt right at home. However, I found it too modern to me. If that makes any sense. I just wasn't used to it. Wow, I'm going to have a hard time when I get home.

Then, as I walk around Le Place d'Independance, I see Alabama again! It's nice to chat with him in English for a while. He asks about Natalie, and I tell him we are all leaving tonight. For good. He's nice, and doesn't even try to drag me back to his store and sell me things. Like coming full circle again, like a nice wrap up in a movie, it was nice to see him for a quick moment again at the end of my stay in Senegal.

Next stop is the Mali market to buy another necklace. Then to the store Ken showed us when we returneed from Goree - L'Artisiare. I really spend a good chunk and get some really cute souvenirs. I love how that store's shopping bags are reused rice sacks they have sewn together. Very resourceful and smart.

I still have time, so I walk back to the Sonatel for a final goodbye. I sit at the bar and get a 1,800 CFA bottle of Coke, watching local music videos on the television screen in the lounge. After walking randomly for about twenty minutes, I find a taxi to take me back to the hotel. Chris and Frankie are there, about to go on a search for Frankie's SIM card that she left at her homestay family's home, and they let me tag along.

We recover the SIM card, then go on a search for some 'maad' fruit (don't know how to spell it exactly). It's a fruit whose top is cut off, sugar is poured inside, and you mix it inside with the stem. Large seeds in fruity flesh are inside that can be extremely bitter, but really good with the sugar. Frankie says the ones we got aren't good, and I had to agree. I wish I had time to find some fresher ones to try.

Back at the hotel, we all chilled in one of the other girl's rooms with David, Katherine, and Aidan's girlfriend. It was nice to hang out and just socialize a bit in a somewhat normal setting. After talking for a long time, finished the maad fruit, we all headed down for dinner.

All I wanted to do after this was shower. I had to get somewhat clean before flying hours upon hours. Just as I get upstairs to get in the modern shower, the power goes out - again. Ugh. That's the irony of being in a hotel with modern bathroom technology. If I was at my homestay, I could still shower when the electricity is out, but here? No. No power, no water pump, no water. Great. I'm sweaty, dusty, sandy, and nasty, and will have to sit and soak in it all the way back to Charlotte.

So I head back downstairs to talk with the others and hang out, then finish up the last of my packing. My hope was to wait out the power outage so I could clean up before leaving. But as the countdown to our late night departure got closer, I realized I would never see the power on in Dakar again. So, the solution? A shower with water-bottles. Really cold water. I barely got clean, but a small wipe down didn't hurt.

We load up the bus and leave for the airport. I just sit and stare out the window, thinking about God knows what. I see the airport ahead, and remember our first meeting with Souleye when he saved us from getting robbed when we first stepped onto Senegalese soil.

The airport itself was a whole different story.

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