Last Saturday was the first time I really ventured out in Dakar to see the sights. Here are some of the highlights from my stroll around town.
First I walked down my street in the direction of the ocean. It’s a busy road and to cross it you have to dodge constant two-way traffic, including amazingly decorated cars rapides.
On the way to La Corniche I passed a shop offering an interesting array of products and services.
Once at the oceanfront I made a left onto the Corniche to go south. I took a look at a monument to Pan-Africanism, not to be confused with the African Renaissance Monument, which is just truly weird in every respect.
A little further along the Corniche, I found a spot to go down onto the sand, and for the first time in my life I dipped my toes into the the eastern side of the Atlantic. (That might be a lie. I dipped my toes into vaguely Atlantic waters in Cornwall a few years ago. Does the English Channel count?)
And still further down, I could just make out the tantalizing skyline of centre-ville.
But my destination was closer – the marché aux poissons. I knew I was nearby when I saw a veritable parking lot of pirogues on the shore.
I almost walked by the actual market because no one was there at the time I visited. It was just a bunch of empty stalls with slabs for cutting up the fish. I thought I had arrived too late but apparently I was too early – the pirogues come back in with their catch later in the afternoon.
I also stopped at the nearby artisans’ market but didn’t take any pictures there because I was getting too much attention from the vendors to begin with.
After that I walked back uptown for a late lunch date with the parents of a friend of an ex-colleague of mine. They were absolute strangers to me but invited me over to their gorgeous house and encouraged me to think of it as my second home in Dakar. I was blown away by how far they went out of their way to make me feel welcome. My French teacher explained that Senegal is the country of teranga, which means “hospitality” in Wolof. Teranga is a very beautiful thing.
Today I’m headed in a slightly different direction, to see centre-ville (finally!). I checked 0ut this site called Agendakar and there’s lots going on downtown today. I am hoping to stop in at a photo exhibit called “Femmes en Résistance” and perhaps see the closing film in the Films Femmes Afrique festival, which I wish I had known about sooner.
On that note, I’m off!