Monday, March 7, 2011

The Stoermer Family Invades Senegal - Dakar

We spent the last day and a half of our vacation in Dakar. We hit several of the “must-sees”: the African Renaissance Monument, Gorée Island, Ngor Island, and Almadies Point.

African Renaissance Monument:

While I don’t necessarily think this was the smartest way President Abdoulaye Wade could have spent $27 million (to say the least), I still thought my family should see it up close. It was dedicated last year on Senegal’s “National Day” (April 4) to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Senegal’s from France.

Gorée Island:

A beautiful little island with history museums, numerous restaurants, a diverse array of traditional African art, and countless people wanting to sell you anything and everything – from a pair of earrings to a tour of the island to glue to fix your shoe (my sandal was starting to break, which numerous boys and young men graciously pointed out and kindly offered to fix, for a fee). We took the 10am ferry across to the island, spent a couple hours wandering around the island and looking at the main history museum, ate lunch, and then took the 2pm ferry back to the mainland.

Ngor Island:

This is another really cute island on the other side of the Dakar peninsula. We took a pirogue to get there (the same kind of boat we took from Palmarin to Toubacouta), though this time we even had life jackets! While the island is small, it has a very different feel depending on which side you’re on – the west side is jagged rocks that get smashed by strong ocean waves, while the east side has calm sandy beaches perfect for soaking in some rays. When we were getting ready to leave the island on the boat, so many people piled in to the front of the boat that the prop of the motor was barely in the water so we couldn’t back our way out. Eventually the guys running the boat got enough people to move farther back in the boat so that prop was in the water and could propel us through the water.

Dakar proper:

The first thing we did when we got to Dakar (after dropping our bags off in our hotel), was to find a restaurant that served beer – my parents needed one after 3 days in my village. J This is a view from the balcony of my parent’s room in our hotel in Dakar, Hotel Farid.

I still wasn’t feeling great the whole time we were in Dakar; Kristina snapped this photo when I was resting for a few minutes in between our excursions.

The big Hotel de Ville – an old hotel in Dakar.

The infamous (among PCVs anyway) N’Ice Cream ice cream shop – that ice cream was almost the only thing I ate all day (because I was still kind of sick) and I was so glad I could eat it…delicious is the only word to describe it!!

Almadies Point:
We had dinner their last night in Dakar at Almadies Point, the westernmost point on the African continent. I'm not sure if it was something Kristina ate that night or not, but she got very sick for several days afterwards (we were all glad she got sick on the last night they were in Senegal rather than earlier in the trip).

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