Why oh Why St Louis....

Trip Start Apr 27, 2010
Trip End Oct 26, 2010

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Flag of Senegal  , Saint-Louis,
Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Day 4 – St-Louis Senegal - Wednesday 8th September 2010

I know I have been really bad at keeping up-to-date with my blog lately so in an attempt to rectify this you will now be inundated with the rest of my travels and goings on until my present day... fun for you all I am sure!

Where was I....ah yes... Travelling from Dakar to St Louis....well after the traumatic journey it was an early start for us at 7:30 as we only had around 10hours to make the most of what we were told as a wonderful place to visit... I must say I did have a comfortable 4hours sleep and although not quite ready to face the day ahead I soldiered on. However, I was not ready for what was waiting for us in St Louis....It had rained all the previous evening and as we left our hostel at 8:30 it was evident that the rain had caused mass flooding around the town... There was only 1 way into the town centre and we had to walk straight through the flooded roads and streets! So we tried to be lady like and go around the water and in typical British fashion – contemplated the many options we had to avoid the mass water surrounding us – however it wasn't until we saw a group of children embracing the water and having the best time that we thought "bugger it" and joined in and practically went swimming – it was hilarious I must say – shoes and umbrella in one hand – feet and legs immersed in this disgusting water in an attempt to find the centre of St Louis which we had no idea where it was.. I can’t say it was a time to stop and ask directions!

So shall we say St Louis did not bring the best first impressions to mind but we persisted and went in search for something to do! The buildings and structures are beautiful and in the morning it reminded me a little of a ghost town – as we were really the only people around and because we were there during the off season most of the places were closed – brilliant – thanks Rough Guide – conveniently forgot to tell me that one! The market was closed and because we were approaching Koriteh we were bombarded with sheep and Rams!! If you travel to Dakar most people will tell you to travel to Le Lac Rose which is said to be the equivalent of the dead sea and it is pink and supposed to be lush but I say why go there when you have the wonders of La Fleuve Brun in St Louis... with its wondrous brown colour and the feeling of depression! My other trouble with St Louis (yes I’m on a rant) is that in order to reach the centre of town – it spans the middle 3 maybe 4 streets and trying to get there is so bloody confusing! So I’m no aborigine but I like to think I can find my way around, however this was ridiculous. So in an attempt to gather out thoughts and sanity we found the nearest internet cafe (which was even a mission to find). I thought the internet was slow here in Gambia but nothing compares to the slowest, oldest internet we found in St Louis – it was like I was 6years old again at school using WinLogo as an introduction to the technological world! And then we thought we were going to self destruct with some weird cyber person repeating back at us what we were doing – also reminds me a little of some of the cash points here in The G.... An automated person shouts very loudly and tells everyone around exactly what you are doing – I’m surprised no one has tried to rob me yet!!!

Ok I am going off on a tangent now – where was I... oh yes St Louis... Until this point I have been rather negative about the place and I must say the experience so far was not exactly what I was expecting or what I had hoped for but it actually is a beautiful place – when the sun is shining and people are out and about and the shops are open etc – It does hold a Jazz festival each year which would be fab to go to! So by 12:30 we decided to take an early lunch at La Linguère – which is supposed to have the best Steak Frites in St Louis – and ok yes it was the only place open but it was amazing – like I always say – the way to my heart is food :-) On our way back to the hostel to get our bags we came across some shops... woo a chance for me to do some shopping and we bought some cool ornaments which made me feel better!

I hate not being comfortable in a place and not knowing my way around as I find it makes you stick out and prone to being ripped off/ taken advantage etc and yes my white skin doesn’t always help with that but Taxi drivers in Senegal are just mean and rude! We argued with many taxi drivers on our way back to the gare routière to get our vehicle back to Dakar... (Well I shouted in English and C had to translate into French for me)... and again 7hours later – too many stops and a changed driver we arrived... mental mental journey but safer and more relaxed than the journey before!!  Unfortunately St Louis you didn’t do it for me but I am willing to return for the jazz festival in order to have my mind changed!

As it was our last night in Dakar we thought we would treat ourselves for dinner and had the most amazing meal at the L’institut Français – with awesome red wine (Cote du Rhone – for my granddad) and cocktails – was most definitely a great way to end a fabulous trip – a short trip but one I will never forget and would be more than happy to recreate – Just think 1 day when I am rich I can travel to Dakar and spend in style!

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