Update # 4

Trip Start Jun 10, 2008
Trip End Jul 11, 2008

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Flag of Senegal  ,
Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Bonjour tout le monde!!!   I had some free time so I thought I would go ahead and drop the 50 cents for an hour's worth or Internet and send and update on my "adventures."  Sarah and I left Dakar on Wednesday and headed to Saint Louis.  We woke up decently early and headed to the bus station (esque place-it's more like a parking lot packed with old buses, cars, taxis and people).  For those of you who hadn't of guessed, getting around Africa is a little different than getting around places in the west.  There isn't so much the plush or even semi-nice trains(in fact the train around here only works some of the time and one of the more dangerous places to be).  You pretty much have three choices: a crazily packed bus with an ungodly amount of people shoved in, a station wagon pretending to be a taxi that squeezes 7 passengers and the drives into it, and a ridiculously expensive normal taxi that generally looks like it might break down if you looked at it the wrong way.  Sarah and I decided to go for the middle option (again please note that this is the shorten version of the story and I would be happy to provide the full one upon my return) and take the sept-place taxis.  So we get squeezed into the back seat with let's just say a slightly study Senegalese woman.  To say that there was little room to move would be an understatement.  For the next four hours Sarah and I were wedged in there trying to force ourselves into a sleep like state to try and escape this uncomfortable situation.  However, I must admit that my ride was much more enjoyable than my sister's.  I was lucky enough to be sitting next to the window and therefor only squished up against my sister.  My sister on the other hand was in the middle seat and to make matters worse she was suffering from what the semi-sketchy french doctor who wasn't going to wear gloves who she saw once we got to Saint Louis would confirm to be a bladder infection.  In other words the ride wasn't the best one she ever took.  But luckily she was able to get some anti-biotics and starting feeling better the next day.  We also spent a very enjoyable evening chatting with a couple of teh guys who worked at the hotel. Our room at the hotel (or I should say my room now that my sister has abandoned me and is back in Dakar until she heads home on Thursday) is quiet lovely, and I mus say it has quite a view.  Our balcony looks out onto the schoolhouse/mosque building and a lovely little garden...Oh and we also have a lovely view of the guard tower of the prison that is located right next door.  Haha.  Luckily for me Senegalese prison don't appear to be as loud as their American counterparts.  There are also just herds and herds or goats running around.  I'm still not sure if the actually belong to specific people or just to the community.  Either way there are everywhere.  It's actually quite cute I must say.    Exciting news though-I actually got to do something useful for my thesis.  I've been to the university here twice to meet with professors and discuss my topics and get suggestions ans all that good stuff.  I actually felt like I had almost been productive.   Anyways, back to more amusing stories.  On Sunday we went to the bird park to see some birds.  It was fun.  Sarah took lots and lots of pictures and we got to take a nice little boat ride.  Though as fun as the boat ride was, the experience was also a little upsetting as well.  Here you have this beautiful area, actually I should probably say once beautiful area.  It was so sad to see the beaches covered in trash.  Even people yards were filled, and to make matters worse a lot of it was stuff that could be recycled if the capacity to do so existed here.  It's just sad to see what the "civilized" world has done to this place.  Okay, enough of my sad little diatribe, I did say that I was going to tell amusing-not depressing stories.  When we were walking back to the taxis we walked past several home and groups of children.  We of course received lots of "bonjour toubabs" as usual, tough once amusing thing was when we walked past a group of young children the smallest one hid.  The other children informed our guide that he was afraid of toubabs.  Sarah and I couldn't help to laugh.    After we got back to the hotel and took a nap (something that has become part of my daily routine because there is nothing else really to do since it is uber hot and the sun tries to kill us).  We we got up went went downstairs to chat with the boys for a bit.  They were apparently debating whether or not one of them was cuter that my sister', Senegalese boyfriend and I was made the judge.  I politely declined the position not wanting to offend or flatter either of them.  Then we got into the discussion of my boyfriend since the same guy asked me if I wanted a Senegalese boyfriend (again I politely declined).  After I kept telling him I already had a boyfriend that I love very much he tried to convince me that guys are not trustworthy and it is out of sight, out of mind (and yes Rob I told him that I have complete and utter trust in you).  then he was like well if I were you boyfriend I would run around on you.  I'd be happy just to sit here and look at you.  You have such pretty eyes;  Blah, blah, blah.  As many of you can imagine by this point I was turning quite red.  I'm not one that likes to have that much attention on them.   Around 6 Sarah and I went over to this local guy's house to have Senegalese tea.  Sarah had met him a few days earlier.  He and another guy run one of the art galleries on the island.  It was a nice time.  I of course didn't say much at the beginning since I kind of fail at social situations but as the evening progressed so did my comfort level.   Anyways, that is pretty much the highlights of my time in Saint Louis so far.  I'm looking forward to heading back to Dakar on Friday.  Actually I should qualify that.  I'm looking forward to being in Dakar, not what I have to do to get there.  Here I'm all alone (since my sister abandoned me) except for the boys at the hotel, and don't get me wrong, they're a lot of fun to be around, there are just more things to do in Dakar.   Hope everything is going well with you all!
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