Trip Start Feb 02, 2008
16Trip End May 03, 2008
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slept v late ..
had a coffee and a croissant for breakfast in my local cafe ! (just like france).
Sat afternoon i took a taxi into the Plateau area (old town & administraive and commercial cntr) ... right on tip of south pointing promontary on which Dakar is built.
If you click on the map at the top of this blog, and convert it to "satellite", and progressively zoom in and in and in to Dakar, eventually you can see the promontary in a lot of detail. In fact you can eventually see the olympic pool and my flat and the mosque near the office, but i explain that another time.
I went to the famous SANDAGA MARKET which is one of the oldest markets in Dakar .... in a building apparently designed by Eiffel (he got about a bit - since he is said to have designed the train station in Maputo too !). However , you can't see anything of eiffel's building really, as it is TOTALLY obscured by shanty and a crowded overflow of stalls and street traders PACKED around it v tightly .... and if you raise your eyes to look at the architecture it is likely to be at the expense of your wallet or watch or possibly even the shirt off your back ! You just KNOW as you are walking in their that it is a bit of a Fagan's den .... nonetheless, wonderful sight of cloth stalls next to a pile of dead chickens, and "everything in garish plastic" stalls next to huge piles of feathers, and vegetable stalls spattered with blood from the butchery next door ..... i scarcely exaggerate. In fact the butchery was extraordinary ... it was only just short of an abattoir, since i guess the animals were slaughtered in the road outside ... but the STATE of the poor carcasses. I have never seen so many demi-animals, all in various stages of evisceration, nor so many bloodied men wrestling with it all ...... once of the most brutal scenes for a long time ! ..... so i had a brisk walk through, not looking too closely at anything or anyone ! and came out - checked my wallet and watch and shirt .... and thought "right, DONE THAT ! & no need to go back ever".
However, apart fromt the brutality of all that, I then had a very pleasant stroll - a LOT of walking - all around the old area, and found the most wonderful cloth shops, and silversmiths, and cafe/brasseries in the french tradition (dived in to a nice clean one and had a "croque monsieur" for lunch!), and a lebanese supermarket (where i did some grocery shopping).
I also found the big amazing cathedral, and the main mosque, and the administrative part of town where some rather fine government ministry buildings dominate.
I went to the national theatre to see if there is a brochure or anything like that .... no such thing, but several "matatu" (mini busses) PACKED full of dozend and dozens of fabulously colourfully dressed ladies in their best senegalese finery arriving for some kind of Women's Convention. It was a lovely colourful sight.
I came home and had a quiet evening with a TV movie & skype w ikeni & alby & caroline - how lovely to see them all!