Monday, August 17, 2009

Senegal

I don't know where to start. Please bear with us, short posts and lots of mistakes are quite likely qs this keyboard is very different;

Day 4, Tambacounda

It is hot hot hot, one man we met todqy guessed 37C but with the humidity it feels hotter; We spent about 8 hours in a sept place today, a type of share taxi that we had to ourselves as our group totals 6 adults plus Brendan and Tadhg. It was a very long hot day but everyones spirits are high, how could they not be given the amazing country we are travelling in? Brendan and Tadhg are doing well too, both were naked ,uch of the day having wet cloths draped over them but in all honesty I think Tadhg is the least bothered by the heat.

Our trip over here was an adventure in itself. We set of straight after Steve's exam, 3 hours driving, two hours sleep, flight to New York, tried to get a hotel room for 8 hours but none available at an affordable price so we headed oin to Manhattan instead on the Air Train and subway. Our mission was to buy a hat for Brendan and to chill out somewhere and take turns to nap. Eventuqlly found the hat but sleep proved to be more elusive. Back to the airport via a wrong train to find we only had 20 minutes to check in. Skipped the queues to both first class checkin qnd security qnd then ran about a mile to the gate, only to fiund our flight delayed. We eventuqlly took off about 3 hours late. Sleep remained elusive for Steve and I so thqt when we arrived in Dakar at 6 am we had had no ,ore than 4 hours in over 48 hours. No worries though, Paddy and his "brother" took us to our digs in a school in Diady's neighbourhood where we slept a lot and ate a lot for the rest of the day. The feeling as we drove the 40 min ride to the school was one of excitement and contentment. The most striking thing for me was that we were just surrounded by people, just humanity everywhere. I also felt instqntly at home in a way. Being at home with my family is of course wonderful, but for as long as I cn remember I havbe felt most myself when I'm trqvelling. I feel so alive and reqdy to soak in all the experiences co,ing our way.

We didn't need to venture further than the front step of the school because there was so much to see and take in right there in front of us. I couldn't possibly do it justice if I tried to describe everything we were witness to just in those first few hours. The sights, smells, sounds, the people, especiqlly the children, and all the goings on right there on that sandy street. And we ate our first West African meals, everyone sitting around and sharing from one giant plate, with so,eone picking apart the fish and chicken and giving us the best bits.

Caitlin, Billy and Jo were delayed by about 24 hrs having got stuck in Casavblanca; Luckily they arrived on the same plane the following ,orning and we headed to Goree Island, an old slave trading port and French fort and colonial admin post. Brendan enjoyed the ferry, Steve felt three pickpocket attempts on his wallet, we had our first downpour, everyone went swimming in the sea, Steve scraped his nipple on some barnacles, we had a lovely meal, stayed in a pleasant hotel, ,et an wonderful canadian couple who have invited us to visit their house (with pool) in Bamako, Mali....

After Goree we spent the night in Dakar City Centre. The boys had a dip in the ocean on a crowded beach, we ate more delicious senegalese food and got scammed twice. (both small, harmless scams that were very obvious and avoidable but hey ho, it was our first day in the big city)

Time is running out. I*ll post despite the mistakes; I hope it isn't hard to read;

We think we might head for timbuktu but aren't sure yet. One day at a time;

All well and very happy; Photos next time. Over and out;

3 comments:

Agnes said...

Sounds amazing! We're so glad to hear you arrived safely and are loving what you've experienced so far. Hope your trip continues to be an incredible adventure for the whole family. Can't wait to see photo!! agi xo

Ms. Morley said...

Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful! You all sound like you are having a much deserved brilliant holiday and I hope it continues to be marvellous. Lots of love, Clare xx

Philip said...

Timbuctu is a long, very hot journey, to the middle of nowhere - it maybe unbearable for Brendan and Tadgh, and consequently everybody else too. Glad you're all having a good time. Phil.