I've already replaced my family...

Trip Start Sep 01, 2006
Trip End Dec 15, 2006

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Flag of Senegal  ,
Saturday, September 2, 2006

After an incredible lunch of rice and chicken, a brief orientation meeting, and another amazing meal of beef and vermicelli, some of the other students and I decided to hit the town and explore. We had no clue whatsoever where to tell our cab to take us, so it took us a while to get out the front door. Five of us crammed into a tiny, yellow taxi cab and pointed to a random club in our guidebook. Our driver took us down the main street, the Avenue Cheikh Ante Diop (I think that's how it's spelled), but we took an interesting detour down back streets as our driver needed to stop and relieve himself on the side of the road. When we arrived at the "club", we realized that it was closed as men were sweeping the dust and dirt outside. The five of us decided to continue on in "downtown" Dakar, which was not very cosmopolitan at all, trying to find a cool place to hang out. We found one, but not in the way we expected. Of course, in a big city like NYC or Philly, you wouldn't stop to just talk to a stranger on the street. In Dakar, it's almost offensive to ignore someone who's talking to you on the street or who greets you while walking past. We stopped to talk to a few people and soon we were sitting down with their entire extended family. We were invited back for dinner, lunch, breakfast, dance performances, children's baptisms (i think), and I was given a book on the community planning for a certain quarter in Dakar. Perhaps this is a normal gift? We're planning on meeting up with this "family" on Monday to go do a dance and music performance at their community center. One of the boys even asked me if I would like to be "more than friends" and perhaps go "disco dancing" with him. I said maybe next time. I'm not sure that there will be a next time because we don't exactly know how to contact these people. We have their telephone numbers but we're not sure how to call. They told us to just stop by at their house whenever, and considering that we met the entire family -- sisters, mothers, aunts, brothers, cousins, good friends, children, cats, etc. -- it shouldn't be hard to recognize someone outside of the house. Dakar is indescribable. Completely vibrant and alive. Welcoming and friendly. I feel at home already, but don't worry.. I still miss you all! :)
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