Friday, August 17, 2007

Saint Louis

Last weekend, I took a 7-hr trip to a city on the northwestern coast called Saint Louis. It's the former capital of Senegal, dating back to colonial times.

Me and a friend of mine, Lamine, left home at5pm Friday at started our trip at a place where people gather to get rides to other parts of the country. They call it the "gare" but it's nothing like a train station. It's just a bunch of people, cars and chaos, and thank God I had Lamine, cuz I would have never found my way around otherwise. People who want to make some money just drive their cars over, wait until they have enough passengers, and then take off to whatever destination. So there are people there looking to get rides, people looking to give rides, and people who want to sell things to those who are waiting - everything from biscuits to eggs to noisemakers! We rode a minibus with about 15 people (the pic is from my view in the back), for a distance of 270 km (yes, 270 km took 7 hours - hello traffic!) for the equivalent of $5 each - which would have been a wicked deal, only, they shoved an extra person in the back with us, so litterally, you were stuck to your seat and to the people on either side of you for the whole trip. My butt was sweating just sitting there. When someone needs to pee, he just calls out to the driver, who pulls over on the side of the road for two minutes. And everytime you stop, villagers on the street stick something in your face that they want you to buy. (Since the traffic is so bad, there is a whole business in just selling to people travelling along the main route from Dakar to Thies (on the way to St. Louis). Mangos are quite popular, but there are other things too). Although, everywhere in Senegal, it is comon to sell things to people through car windows. Merchants will run alongside the slow-moving car, until the transaction is over, then the car drives on, and the merchant gets a rest.

Anyways, so we arrived at St. Louis at midnight! Luckily a nice room and meal awaited me at Lamine's aunt's house, where I stayed for the weekend.
St. Louis is nice. Less western/cosmopolitan than Dakar, even more Senegalese. The beach is really nice and the architecture is colonial style. Anyways, here are some pics (Lamine along the water, the market, and where they dry the fishes):


Natasha said...

Hey honey I love seeing the pictures. Wish there was some more of you though! So how are you feeling about the trip? Still embracing the Senegal-ness or missing the normalcy of home? (is normalcy a word? how did i ever graduate)???

Love you.

Fresca said...

HEEEEEBA! great pictures. btw u look great!

...annnd call me/check ur email! i have nose!...i mean news! ;)

(hi celine! i know you're reading!)

love you!

Fresca said...

By the way, who is Stillsearching.... and for that matter who am i? ooohh!? here's a hint :*D

i know you nose......i mean know, i use the same username 24/7.

if you checked your email once in a lifetime you'd understand the NOSE referances! sheesh!

ok, i think ive made enough of a mockery of your blog..

I'm so proud of you babe! Keep it up.

Still.Searching said...

Heba.. I was walking by the campus bus stop today.. guess what? OC Transpo must have read your blog, liked the idea of having bus stops for different routes separated by less than 100 m. They already have it in place at the campus stop!!!

I stood there to watch how Canadians in Canada deal with this dielemma.. They seem to have (independently) come up with a solution identical to yours : stand in the middle and run towards one stop as necessary.. We are not so different after all :-))