There and back again

Trip Start Jan 28, 2011
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15
Trip End Feb 26, 2011


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Flag of Senegal  , La Petite Côte,
Tuesday, February 15, 2011

 

Getting up that morning we quickly jumped into the falls and played around in the warm water for a while, after a long time away from natural water. Refreshed we gather up our things, said goodbye to our friendly french neighbors and set off. This day we had a very long drive ahead of us, with the goal set for the Atlantic coast, all the way across Senegal.

A fast drive out of the wilderness and through the west-most reaches of Mali we came to the shore of the Senegal River, demarcating the border with Senegal. We worked our way through the usual border rituals, but this time with a hand tied behind our backs. While chewing on a roasted leg of goat, we walked between the desks and got our stamps one after another. It was all familiar, until we came to declare our car into Senegal. Then we were directed into town. A long drive took us across town to the customs office, where we got our final stamp and could move on.

We quickly noticed contrasts with the previous countries we had passed through. Obviously richer, the mopeds were all but gone and replaced by rickety cars, but cars none the less. But at the same time, horse-drawn taxis were abundant. On every street we could see carriages. We couldn't really decide if it was a sign of a poor society, or a rich one that easily could afford private transportation.

The roads themselves also showed a huge difference. Roads signs were suddenly abundant after hardly seeing any for a long time. The tarmac was marked with lanes and directions. And when night came, we saw the reflectors by the lines. Densely packed on the straight roads, one could easily mistake the roads for runways.

All roads weren't equal though. Coming to a particularly bad stretch, we found ourselves swerving back and forth trying to avoid pot holes, just as everyone else did. At one point we had a car coming towards us on either side, while being followed by a car on either side, completely surrounding us. Looking at it from outside it often must have looked like a complete chaos, with cars going in every direction crisscrossing eachother's paths. It was almost unbelievable that we didn't see any major collisions for the entire stretch.

We were pushing 1000 kilometers and were well into the night, when we arrived at the Atlantic coast and the village of Saly. Arriving at the same resort that they had stayed in on their southbound trip, the nightwatchman immediately recognized the boys and greeted us emphatically and let us in. We grabbed a celebratory beer at the beach bar before settling in for the night.

Sleeping in late, it was almost lunch time when we sat down in the restaurant for breakfast. Overlooking the entire beach from our table, we had some crisp croissant and baguette, excellent even by our standards from back home. For most of the day we languished on the beach, getting a refreshing break from our traveling. The calm was constantly interrupted by people remembering the brothers from their previous stay. We did little during the stay. The owner Mohammed and his staff made sure we had every comfort and were well taken care of. So we didn't feel compelled to do anything more active for the day, which became two, as we were informed that the next day was a national Muslim holiday.
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