Dakar, Senegal

May 3, 2011 - Dakar, Senegal

Our final stop in Africa, after nearly a month :  Dakar.

Bruce went on a tour and felt like he really saw a lot and understood a great deal about the history and lives of the people here.  It's a very depressed country where slaves were traded for generations.  The unemployment rate is near 50%, same as most of the western Africa nations.  Life expectancy is 45.  It is largely Muslim.  Poverty reigns.

I canceled my tour and just went with friends on the shuttle bus into the downtown of Dakar where there is a market place.  It was May Day, a  holiday, so there weren't many people out and about early Sunday morning.

Typically our shuttle bus has a guide who talks about the country enroute to the drop-off place, which is always a centrally located, safe and easy-to-find location.  Today we had 4 "guides" plus a driver and for the first time in our memory, the guides warned us repeatedly about dangers - mugging, pickpockets, overly agressive vendors etc. and when we got off the bus, two guides stayed with us the entire time.  We walked about 2 blocks and said "take us back to the bus" and we took the next bus back to the ship !  It was most unpleasant.  Friends who went later in the day said the market was bustling and they had great fun.

But lucky for us, there was a pretty good-size market being set up on the dock, so we had all day to run back and forth to look at their wares.  Very colorful, very African, but -  nothing like we'd been hoping for. However, most of us (women) were wearing newly acquired beads at dinner Sunday night.

This is our last port before Lisbon, Portugal.  We'll be at sea for 3 days (lots of piano classes) enroute to Lisbon -  a city where we had a great time when we first visited  several years ago.  We've turned down all invitations to do anything, and will spend our time in Lisbon together re-visiting some sites and exploring new places.

And.  We are beginning to pack.  How to get all this stuff back into our suitcases, that's the question.


Bruce and Carol


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