. OnHiatus.com > Journal 1 > Day Index > Journal Entry: September 17, 1998

Thursday, September 17, 1998
Casablanca, Morocco to Dakar, Senegal
Morocco's FlagSenegal's Flag

Dakar, Senegal:
Latitude: 14° 40' 20" North
Longitude: 17° 25' 55" West
Altitude: 70 feet
From Seattle: 6675 miles
Lodging: Hotel - Hôtel Provençal

Today's Travel:
Countries: Morocco, Senegal
Regions: Atlantic Coast, Cap Vert
Route: Train: Casa Voyageurs - Mohammed V Airport; Plane: Royal Air Moroc, Flight AT 501: Casablanca (Mohammed V Airport) - Dakar Airport; Municipal Bus #8: Airport - La Place de l'Indépendence
Path:Casablanca, Morocco - Dakar, Senegal
Linear:1606 miles
Weather: Rain / Overcast

Available Photos:

Mohammed and ? (my "friends" / guide) and I at the Bar Gorée Dakar, Senegal

All photo images © 1997-2000 Anthony Jones - Images may not be used without prior written approval.

Click on map to Zoom in...
Trip Stats to Date:
Day: 525
Linear Dist: 126105
Countries Visited: 36
Regions Visited: 150
More stats...
Hotels: 132
Friends / Family: 154
Camping: 42
Hostels: 141
Transit: 49
Other Lodging: 6
Beers: 1931

Journal Entry:
Early this morning it started to pour rain and I could hear thunder. I got up to look for lightening, but never saw any. After another night of no sleep. I wasn't really functioning very well and ended up being a few minutes late, checking out at 11:40 which is when the train I was planning to catch was leaving for the airport. I opted to take the much more expensive taxi, but again messed up as I flagged down a petit taxi, which of course could not take me to the airport (30 km away, I should have found a grand taxi). So I had the taxi take me to the other airport where I knew the airport train ran much more frequently. Unfortunately I got there two minutes after the last train I could take was scheduled to leave, fortunately the train was four minutes late. This actually turned out to be the same train I had meant to catch at the Casa Port station, which meant I probably could have made it. Uneventful flight. The only surprise was how small the plane was, I guess the Casa - Dakar route is not that popular. A little under three and a half hours later I landed outside Dakar.

Getting off the plane felt like stepping into a blast furnace. Actually it wasn't even as hot as Marrakesh, but the humidity must be near 100 percent. Got through immigration (a visa wasn't required, which I knew, but was still worried about), waited and worried for my pack (which was near the last off the plane), and got through customs.

I was worried about customs because the consulate info sheet I got from the state department said you cannot bring stereo or computer equipment into Senegal (both of which I have). It was also the first time in 17 months of travel that anyone has actually opened my bags to look. I tried to declare my "contraband", but the official only spoke French and wasn't willing to try and understand my pigeon French. Right outside the customs gate, in Senegal's major international airport, a goat ran by... definitely not in Kansas anymore.

I was immediately assaulted by non-guides, and two in particular followed me to the bus station and got on the bus with me. I finally had to tell Mohammed to be quiet because he wouldn't go away and was driving me crazy on the bus. Definitely not in Morocco anymore. Besides the humidity, everything is so green, and the local standard of life is way more primitive (pavement on the roads was rare, and even the paved road was mostly dirt) - even here in the capitol. When I got off the bus an hour later they were right there and followed me all the way to the hotel I had picked from the guide book. I assume they got a commission from the hotel, but at least I had some peace and quiet in my room.

I spent almost an hour unwinding and reading about Dakar in my room before deciding I needed a cold drink (the room has a ceiling fan, but it just doesn't seem to help much). On exit from the hotel, there was one of the guides. He followed me to the cafe next door, and sat at the table next to me as I proceeded to read and ignore him. After a few sodas I remembered that I was having sleeping problems and switched to a local beer, Biér du la Gazelle (quite tolerable, at least as good as Heineken). Meanwhile the other guide had shown up, and despite my best efforts I started talking with them.

After another beer I decided that maybe they were ok, and decided to follow them to a nearby outside music place to listen to Senegalese music. The place was near, an I liked the atmosphere a lot (a huge tree leaned over the dance floor and I was the only white person there), but the music was a bit of a let down. The bar ended up being the Bar Gorée (listed in the guide book), and the "local"e; music was Spanish style sambas, and shortly after we arrived that switched to Bob Marley. I bought my "friends"e; each a beer (500 CFA / US$1 each). When the reggae switched to cheesy dance music I left (I'm sure there was a Spice Girls tune cued for the near future).

The two guys of course followed me claiming it wasn't safe for me to walk the two blocks back to the hotel. As we neared the hotel I was hit up for a loan so that they could pay for transportation, only 10,000 CFA ($20), even though the bus had cost a little more than than US$.25 each. They kept trying as I refused, and became a bit sullen, but never got abusive and they said good night quite civilly.

Back in the hotel I set up my mosquito net (after carrying it for just over a year the first time I've used it). As I've sat here writing this I've killed three mosquitoes, inside my net - no idea how they got in, but none of them had got to me yet!

Related Sites:
CNN: Current Weather in Dakar
US State Department Consular Information Sheets: Senegal
CIA World Fact Book: Senegal

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