An awesome rage at the end of a dusty road

Trip Start Dec 12, 2010
Trip End Dec 16, 2012

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Flag of Senegal  , Tambacounda,
Friday, December 16, 2011

Travelling through a country is often a funny experience. As travellers we all have expectations of a country, most of them good, and at times we struggle with the fact that some countries under exceed our expectations. Some countries bring unwanted surprises, and some countries leave us not wanting to visit again. Travelling optimists like to say, there is always light at the end of the tunnel. But in Senegal, we ended up saying, there was an awesome rage at the end of a dusty road.
Our first attempt at getting a Senegalise visa in Morocco went a bit pear shaped, as we were accused of trying to bribe the embassy. Funny that, it wasn't what we were doing at all, but let's just say when we finally entered Senegal, the customs officers contradicted the embassy and, well it was an 'interesting' border crossing.
First stop in Senegal was St Louis. We were in West Africa and straight away we could feel, smell and see that. Locals were intrigued by our big yellow truck and our skin colour. One little girl grabbed Shaun's hand and kept pressing her finger on it, it was like she had never seen a white person before. Awesome! What a great experience.
The locals were interested in us as visitors to their overpriced touristy town. And some (staff at the Flamingo bar) were interested in a quick buck. Trying to double charge a couple of the group including the driver, they thought they could get away with it. Well, think again. The driver and two young passengers refused, but instead of walking out scott free, the police were called and the three boys were arrested. One (now known to the group as 'Jailbreak') escaped and made it back to camp to let the rest of us know. The driver and the other passenger spent the night in a Senegalise prison, and for what, not wanting to pay their bill twice. Once again, another contradiction from what we were told at the embassy.
Anyway, not a great start to our adventures in Senegal. But surely it would get better? So off to the crazy city of Dakar. We got to go food group shopping in the market, and explored the crazy city. Seriously it was crazy and everywhere we went to had an unwelcomed entourage taking us through the streets, trying to sell us something. One guy even followed us for at least half an hour, then had the hide to ask Shaun for a letter of invitation to Australia. At least Dakar gave us a good dining experience in a nice city restaurant.
Okay, two places down and Senegal wasn't looking great for us. Sure, we weren't having a terrible time, but our expectations had let us down. Surely there was light at the end of the tunnel, or in our case, an awesome rage at the end of a dusty road.
After leaving the hussle and bussle of Dakar, we headed west towards Mali. We stopped at a small town for food shopping and found a cool local bar with ice cold beer, awesome! Things were looking up.
That night we arrived at our bush camp and were followed by a group of local kids. They weren't there to sell us anything, or bribe us, but they were just intrigued. Some of the boys helped us set up our tents and helped start the fire. We then asked where a baobab tree was, so they pointed us in the right direction. A couple of us found the baobab tree and picked a couple of fruits which were not ripe, but it was good to see what the fruit looked like.
The next thing we knew, the local kids returned to our campsite with a sack of ripe baobab fruit for us. We sat around the camp fire with them and talked in broken French. We got photos with them, and they were so nice, so we asked them what we could do for them. All they asked for was some fresh water, which they eagerly shared before they were on their way. They were thrilled when we gave them a large water bottle, then said their goodbyes, as they wandered home in the dark bush to their village with Shaun and Guber escorting them by torch light. It was such a magical experience. It saved Senegal for us.
After the kids departure, we celebrated with an awesome raging fire! We were on cloud nine. The kids returned the next morning to wave us off. As we drove down the dusty road headed for the Mali border, we thought to ourselves how good a time we actually did have in Senegal. After all, there was an awesome rage at the end of a dusty road!
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