first port in West Africa was Dakar, Senegal. The temperature was
warming up - mid 80's today. We took a ½ day morning tour
of Dakar. It is the capital of Senegal with 4M people. Senegal has
about 12M. They got their independence from France in 1960. French
is the official language but our guide spoke excellent English.
The downtown area was very congested with lots of taxis, colorful,
crowded buses and people walking everywhere. This is primarily a
Muslim country so many women cover their heads. Most
of the women were beautifully dressed in colorful long dresses with
matching scarves or head pieces. But the city is very dirty with
trash everywhere. Shacks line the streets and often serve as both
housing and shops.
visited a sand painting gallery and watched a demo. They use the
glue from the sap of a baubo tree to paint the wood where the sand
will go. Then sprinkle different kinds/colors of native sand on
the glue. Naturally, we had to buy one to add to our collection
of native art.
To see a short video of the process, click on Sandpainting
next stop was at the Monument of the African Renaissance, a huge
bronze statue on a hill of a man, woman and child representing the
rebirth of Africa.
Then on to a craft market. This consisted of a maze of small stalls
down narrow, windy, dirty streets. The vendors were insistent that
you come in to see their wares: "Will give you very good price".
You are expected to bargain which Barb doesn't enjoy doing. She
wanted to buy a nice cloth bag and our guide had said to give him
the money and he would get the best price. We expected he would
go with us, show him which one we wanted and he would buy it. Instead,
we couldn't wait to go back to the bus so left without seeing him.
When he got on the bus later, he came back and gave us a bag he
had bought for us . Thankfully it was a nice one and Barb really
appreciated her personal shopper.
last stop was another market. This one included produce, meats and
fish. Not a pleasant place to be but interesting. We bought a beautiful
beaded carved wooden mask.
We returned to the ship for lunch. Then attended a pre-dinner show
put on by the National Ballet La Linguere. These were highly energetic
dancers from Senegal in colorful costumes, accompanied by a band
playing native instruments. Very entertaining.
To view more photos from Dakar, please go to Dakar
Photo Gallery. To read about the next location visited, go to
Locations Visited Photos Map