We're in Senegal, But Where's Jack?

Trip Start Sep 01, 2012
Trip End Jul 13, 2013

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Where I stayed
Zebrabar, Mouit, N15 51.827, W16 30.720
Woods by beach road from Saint Louis to Dakar, N15 5.482, W16 58.928
Auberge Ma Petite Camargue, Lac Rose (Retba), N14 49.833, W17 13.526

Flag of Senegal  , Dakar,
Monday, February 18, 2013

Dear family, friends and other dogs

If I recall correctly, my last chapter ended with the loss of our shiny, strong, silent and faithful, red long and high lift Jack who used to hold on to the tail end of Landy. Many an hour we spent re-sniffing and beady eyeing our tyre tracks but there wasn't even a little glimmer of red to be seen amongst the Yellow Labrador sand (my mistress says the colour of Josh of Norfolk who left us for the land of perpetual woodland seaside trots aeons before I glided in to this land of humans) and Weimarana (dear Augusta who also departed before I glided in) silver bushes. 

All claws were crossed that we wouldn’t have an injured tyre without Jack to provide a fifth leg and paw for Landy.  However, all of our claw power was not up to girl power standards on the morning of our last Westie’s leg (yes, dear Alec and Angus, like one of your tenacious diminutive legs) of the piste to Senegal.   Thus, inevitably, less than twenty minutes in to our matinal excursion, one of the Rottweiler gods in the sky scratched his bellyful of breakfast and the belly of one of our tyres went pop!  'I do not believe it!’ was our cry, in unison, before we drew a lot of air in to our bellies, flexed our muscles and got digging.  There was only one thing to do without Jack, use our super hero shovel with our snouts and paws to excavate a very large hole in the sand underneath the airless tyre, heave the poor thing off and gently lift a more rounded relative into its place.   

Four full tyres carried us onwards (still without Jack) to a clip-clop-clappety bridge, stretched as far as a bridge can go, across the cerulean waters of the River Senegal to the isle of Saint-Louis,  reminiscent of the floating city of Venice.   The water lapped habitat prompted ruminations from my master and mistress concerning a certain Habana Vieja.  As I pointed my nose up in to the air I observed rhythmically writhing black snakes of iron wrapped around those  viewing galleries in the air (called balconies) clinging precariously to the face of the human kennels.  Down below I peeked at clandestine cool courtyards tucked away inside the arms of the kennels, sheltering humans from Unrelenting Ray in the street.  A pirogue (not pierogi), driven by a standing human with a long stick (like a gondolier), was weighted down with humans trying to get from one side of the waters to the other.  Young humans were sailing their Lilliputian pirogues in the waters near the resting place of the body of my friend Mr Goat who must have forgotten how to doggie paddle.  However, we did leave Saint-Louis with a small round of his goatish cheese which he must have thoughtfully made earlier. 

Oh my, what fine horns, wobbly humps and frilly neckerchiefs the Senegalese cows parade!  They liked to saunter about the rose coloured waters of a lake not far from the hugest human habitation in the land called Dakar.  It was in Dakar that we hunted for a new beautiful red long and high lift Jack but got stuck instead amongst a herd of automobiles, beasts of burden with their carts and motor bicycles with the buzz of a plague of mosquitos.  We left Landy under the shade of a tree while my master and I went for a bit of a wander, on our feet and paws, to find a hole in a wall which would give us some dosh, and my mistress went to a hospital for wounded green men with very long sticks which kill you.  Here is what she told me all about her adventure: 

 ‘Well my darling Maxwell House, I went to see ‘Dakarthérapie’ which one of the books in your library tells me is a ‘Best in Show’ of ‘works by psychiatric patients at the hospital, created during artist-led workshops organised by the association Nit Nitey Garabame.’   The green man with the very long stick at the hospital gate, the female human at the Information Desk and various  other humans in white cloth had never heard of this ‘Dakarthérapie’ but they all waved their paws to the Pavillon France.  First glimpses of this pleasant building reminded me of the kennel of the Mistress of Newnham College Cambridge (a kennel for hundreds of female dogs), a sort of a Roman villa with shady courtyard inside (which I know you have snooped at before Dear Max).  A square piece of metal on the face of the building told me that it was opened for business in 2009 by a couple of Top Dogs known as the Minister of Foreign and European Affairs and the Minister of the Armed Forces of Senegal.   I wandered inside, to peace and quiet, hushed voices, fresh, cool, clean air and a courtyard oasis of flowers and trees.  The woman who helps all humans who visit the building, told me that the art lay round the side of the building so I went back out again and found a tall gate with ‘Dak’art 2012’ written above.  Surely this must be it I thought!  The gate obligingly opened to my touch and I entered a fairly elongated and shady passageway.  A large empty easel (for painting large paintings upon not like the small and usually full easel which you gave your dearest niece) lay propped up against the wall, then, down some steps, there were some remnants of a Best in Show. I stood with tongue out and ears perked up at bold and brave paintings of bright pirogues and mermaids, all with painted frames made by the painter (called the artist).  At the end of the passageway I was able to spy in to what I thought must be the place where these paintings had been painted; a room with an ivy pot plant hanging low from the ceiling, a long row of sinks and cupboards,  a big table with the tools of the artist upon it (brushes and paints) upon it, one wall covered with little shy paintings of birds and marks of peace and love, another wall proudly wearing larger, rougher paintings with string entanglements which I thought to be like the art works of a female artist known as Eva Hesse.   I spied with my green eyes on and on - to a piece of cloth known as a dress (for a very young human) and a pair of trousers made of the tough blue cloth known as jeans hanging from some metal door railings leading to another room, a light filled room with a dusty black plastic hospital bed.  My spying stopped suddenly when a woman appeared at the window and beckoned me in.  I re-entered the hospital and walked intently to what I thought was the Right Room with sparkly stars around its door.  The woman in the window now poked her head around the door just as another woman in white cloth pounced upon me.  They both told me that there were no works to see but that I could ask the Nit Nitey Garabame Association if I wanted to pay a visitation to an (what they call) ‘art therapy session’ which takes place from 4pm every day.  The woman in the window and the woman in white cloth did not understand that I just wanted to have time to gaze upon a ‘Best In Show’ of artworks made by the artists in the hospital.  The two women were not pleased by my presence so I scooted out of the Pavillon France right in to the elegant grooming of a big pack of medalled up Senegalese generals (the most important green men) and some slightly skirted French females performing some mutual ear licking, wagging of tails at the building and pointing of suspicious noses at me.  Well my darling Maxwell House, it was a bit of a boneless expedition but at least I managed to meet the mermaid and her pirogue. ’

So, dear readers, we left Dakar without the right art and without the right Jack.  It was time for us to head on down to the secret land of the baobab tree, the Siné-Saloum. 

Thank you for your readings.

Love and licks

Max x x

PS Paw Notes
Protein – I get enough of this from my dried pellets but my master and mistress need it badly.  Every morning they place some dried pellets of peas, lentils, beans or chickpeas in a plastic bottle with some water and by the evening they are soft and large and ready to be cooked for dinner.

Tool Box – we have already used most items in this large but essential tool box for Landy injuries such as his broken top bracket of the rear shock and flat tyres, upgrading and changing his electrics, his general maintenance and grooming. 

Another Book Lover - a great lover of books (he had such a large library you could barely set a paw in to his kennel), Habana Vieja,  the feline as well as the human and a tolerator of the canine like me - well he departed to the land of perpetual dancing and lapping up of fine spirits while we were on this bit of our journey.  You can read about his amazing doings and see his wonderful naughty smile here, a Dear Friend.

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Ashley Theakston on

Yay!!! Another thrilling installment of adventures,sniffs and various colours,wonder and adventure!!!!!! Me.I just lie on the sofa alot passing wind and waiting for me ears to be nuzzled(that happens quite alot!)Then i have my walk and am harshly pulled away from MacDonalds left overs and mouldy sandwiches..............nevermind,last time I got a nibble of some my belly made very funny noises and I didn't feel well at all!!!!!!! My mistress says to send loads of love and a nuzzlle to everybody's ears........Nutty!!!xxxxxxxxx

Will on

Like the video...so the beach road is just the beach great!

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