Rattling buses and piles of meat

Trip Start Oct 04, 2011
Trip End May 01, 2013

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Flag of Senegal  , La Petite Côte,
Monday, November 14, 2011

Returning from St Louis, the old colonial heart of French Senegal and its first capital we decided to catch our first iconic "car rapide." This is a highly misleading name. Theyare not cars and are far from rapid. Rattley yes. Rapid no.  Not that anyone's told this to the driver who falsely assumes his vehicle is on too rapid, and on too an important a mission to stop to collect passengers. This leaves all and sundry no option but to run after and hop on. Surprising little toothless old ladies seem able to manage this. The money which might have been better spent on repairs seems to have been lavished on paint. There are exceptionally wildly decorated. A bus boy signals to stop by wildly and harshly whacking on the metal work with a coin. He seems to enjoy doing this very much and the din it creates brings him evident pleasure. Rattles and coiny whacks complete hideously.

Arriving back in Dakar's central bus station we trudged through the oily maze of wrecked buses surrounded by an army of chancers and hustlers. We were after food but were momentarily in complete confusion regarding as to which little fly ridden shack from which to obtain it or indeed what each shack's purpose was. A soldier with a large gun evidently decided to take charge of the situation and hissing me over directed me to a stall where the flies were thickest. Spread like a thick buzzing carpet they were.

Their attraction was immediately obvious, on a massive BBQ was a huge pile of assorted animal body parts sizzling away enticingly over a hot charcoal pile. The man with a large gun, the acquaintance of whom incidentally was very effective at scattering the chancer army, obviously took us for fatty, meaty, massive fly BBQ people. Which we are.

Now how to obtain this meat was the next question posed? "Une sandwich? Non, c'est ne pas possible," "Une assiette? Non." A very hopeful "Avec frite?" drew further blanks. A now frequent moment of further confusion ensued until a big man practically salivating at this pile of meat showed us the way. A huge heap of meat was picked up and plonked on some kitchen scales. Arrrhh, a kg of BBQ, of course. We somewhat more moderately bought a half kg of lamb chops covered in spicy season with bits of french bread. Looking over I saw the fat man with meaty juice all over his piggy chin smiling wildly.  With greasy shiny hands he pointed to his large belly proudly. He grabbed it in two hands to hammer his point further home. He then insisted that I took a pictures of the meat pile, and one of him and his belly like they were two things as dear to him as his own family.

Something told me he eats there quite regularly.

Rob Spackman 16th November, Gambia
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