What drew me to Senegal was its reputation as the colorful and musical soul of Western Africa. First, a disclaimer, apparently the music and dancing begin around midnight, an hour I rarely experience outside of dreamland. So I cannot speak to that. But the clothing colors, fabrics and design are evident everywhere scattered among those who choose to dress in Western garb. The Boubou is a long, light and wide garment worn by both men and women although the female cloth is much more vibrant and often accompanied by a head scarf called a moussar that is tied in many fabulous forms. Because I was being respectful I did not sneak any photos of the many beautiful people I encountered. These pictures are attributed to Afroculture.net.
Dakar is a city like many in that it has mosques, churches, big buildings both new and old, and of course more than a few futball stadiums. I was surprised to discover that the national sport is actually wrestling!
While the roads seem to be in fairly good shape the sidewalks are either non-existent or cracked and dirty. I would not consider it a walkable city. The corniche has a long boulevard that stretches along the Atlantic on the West side. Here you will find many hotels, restaurants and the huge African Renaissance monument, symbolizing Africa’s rebirth and commemorating Senegalese independence.
The airport is new and at least 30 miles from downtown. As of yet, the only transportation offered are taxis which supposedly are metered (not) but adhere to the posted tariffs (again, not really). I made sure that the driver agreed to a price before I got in and I paid the extra money for the good toll road which he took upfront; however, I never saw that road.
The tour of Goree island was a haunting expose of the largest slave-trading center from the 15th to the 19th centuries. It has been called the “memory island” as it has preserved the stories and buildings of this horrific time in the joint European, American and African history.
This trip I used miles to stay in a fancy hotel, a promise I made to myself after staying in hostels and tents on my last African trip. The Pullman was in the city proper, abutting the Atlantic ocean and a couple of blocks from the President’s house!