Trip Start Mar 05, 2006
10Trip End Mar 12, 2006
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The manager finally returns with change, the driver (generally a guy in his late teens) shows up, the trunk is closed (you breath a sigh of relief that you no longer have to keep an eagle's eye on your bags with all the touts swarming around) and you wind your way through the garage (gare) and onto the street. The first stop is the petrol station. Now that your fare has been paid, gas can be purchased. Our drivers have put in anywhere from 3 to 12 L, a litre costing slightly more than 500 CFA. Next, any last minute repairs are made, slow leak tires are filled with air, engine oil is purchased, water is collected to cool the engine later. Then, half an hour to forty-five minutes after you arrived at the gare, you are finally on your way.
The ride to Thies was long and hot. Two hours only, but on top of the two hours earlier in the day and in the heat of the day. Peugot taxis are great and all, but they are not the epitome of comfort. We arrived in Thies at quarter to three and hailed a cab for the Hotel du Rail aka a wild goose chase. The hotel no longer exists, nor is there any sign of it having existed recently. So...we tried the Hotel Man Gan. The room they showed us was a dump, consistent with our first impressions of Senegal's second largest city. We left and headed for the only other place in town, The Rex, stopping along the way for a Planet Cola, my new favorite Senegalese drink. The man at the Rex told us quite rudely that he had no rooms and quickly shooed us out the door. We stopped to reconnoiter and have more swallows of Planet Cola on the street and he came to shoo us away there, too. So, we headed back to the Man Gan, asked for a room with a working shower and got settled.
Dinner tonight was at the local internet cafe. We were the only ones there. The food was great with nice music and the TV showing American sit-coms in French until we asked them to turn it off. Light-up neon snowflakes adorned the walls, the only source of light in the place, flashing and doing light shows all night. The rest of Senegal is so blah, this was sensory overload, but unique.
Heading back to the hotel, we passed the place to be on Saturday night. Western club beats and melodies overlaid with French or Wolof rap. Looked like a good time, but Donna's a bit old for party crashing and we were tired.
Next --> Back to Dakar and the conclusion of travels
Where I stayed
Hotel du Rail