The Secret Siné-Saloum: Land of the Baobab Tree
Trip Start Sep 01, 2012
37Trip End Jul 13, 2013
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Where I stayed
Djidjack, Palmarin, N14 1.452, W16 46.087
Camping Coquillages, Toubakouta, N13 47.247, W16 28.565
Keur Youssou, Toubakouta, N13 47.270, W16 28.435
A host of baobab trees (like one of the balloon sculptures my dear friend Matthew magics up) waved their bobbly branches in salutation as we bounced our way along the red hot tracks in to the secret lands of the Siné-Saloum. These lands were dappled with static saline waters, where huddles of female humans, bent over like flamingos scooping up their grub, dug for their salty treasures. Then the mangrove put in an appearance, (yes the mangrove and not the doggrove or indeed the womangrove), with a green bushy head of hair balanced upon many bandy thin grey legs. Toubakouta was the name of the human habitation which fed upon the strange fruit of this mangrove.
Outside a certain shop of Toubakouta, which sold many wooden objects, (but no sticks), we met a female and male human couple, the In Loves. The In Loves had bicycled quietly from Grenoble through the lands of Switzerland and Germany to Serbia, Turkey, Algeria, Tunisia, Morocco and had then hopped on to one of those metal boxes which look like the underbelly of a sort of a shark but fly like an osprey across the right way up sky, all the way to Senegal
The shade of the shop of wooden objects (but no sticks) hosted an afternoon of talking, snorting, nodding and shaking of the ears. We learned how the new Top Dog of Senegal, whom they call Macky Sall, is quite ferocious towards other Top Dogs who do not want to eat from the same dog bowl as him. Apparently, he has not helped Toubakouta which hangs on in there in a state of 'cat-astrophe', which, for once, the feline has no responsibility for. The humans can only get their dosh and dinner from fishing (for real, not paper fish) and a little tourism. There is also a very big worry that there will not be enough fish left for the Little Fishers of the West African waters because the Big Fishers from Europe (the world as I knew it) and the land of China are helping themselves to too many fish. The Toubakoutan human member of our shady chin and ear wag felt that the land of China is ‘buying Africa’, building roads and hospitals (not for Landy), using Senegalese humans to do the hard and dirty little dosh work and keeping all the Top Dog manager loads of dosh jobs for Chinese humans. The Toubakoutan Human used to make shiny pretty silver collars, claw rings and paw rings for humans to wear but now, everyhuman wants to buy less dosh pretty plastic collars and rings made by the land of China. Now the Toubakoutan Human has to sell wooden objects (but no sticks), which he does not share my love for, and has had to leave his special craft out to die, like Mr Goat was left by the waters at Saint-Louis
Do you remember what a pirogue is (not a pierogi)? Well, you can see a picture of me enjoying my first ever pirogue ride on the waters of Toubakouta. I spotted small circles of Little Fishers standing on their hind legs up to their waists in water, plucking the strange fruit from the legs of the mangrove. This strange fruit is known as an oi!-ster which humans like to slurp and swallow as quickly as I slurp and swallow my dried pellets. When all of my four legs and tail were back on muddy land we returned to what was now the candlelit shade of the shop of wooden objects (but no sticks) and gave some dosh in return for a giant wooden spoon with which to stir our Dutch Oven dinners.
I would like to leave you with a little Wolof (Woof with an ‘l’ just slipped in there) which the Toubakoutan human taught us, ‘Dégoo ‘Glow Eye’ (sounds like ‘glow eye’ but I do not know how to write it), which means ‘really, truthfully, verily, yes I agree with you’, or, we think it does, and it makes all the humans roar and rock with laughter whenever we quietly bark or yelp it.
Thank you for your readings
Love and licks
Max x x
PS Paw Notes to Photos
Beautiful Bread – this batch came from a bakery in Palmarin where you could sit outside and watch the big screen that lights up while you waited to be served. They very kindly left out all their leftovers for my friend Mr Goat and his family to eat.
Café Touba – spicy, strong and sweet made from freshly pounded coffee beans, cloves and diar.
Here Comes The Sun – Le Soleil is shining strong in Senegal, this edition an interesting nose read about Gambian/Senegalese inter-pack relations and the 48th anniversary of Gambian freedom from the control of British Top Dogs at which Macky Sall, the Senegalese President, was guest of honour which was a surprise for all as The Gambia used their long sticks to execute a couple of Senegalese humans last year. It also has a very cheery writing about an enormous peanut based products factory paid for with Chinese dosh which is opening in the Ndinguairaye in the Saloum where ‘Les paysans ne se contentment plus de cultiver et de vendre leurs récoltes.’ Le Soleil says that the factory will give humans that thing which I do not understand called work and will make sure that there are more researchings in to the wonders of the all singing and all prancing peanut.