Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Dakar Chronicles

Most of the things I want out of life in a picture.

It’s July already!!!  Where does the time go, I can’t be the only person who still thinks we are in February and gets silently shocked each time I have to date a document or anything in July 2017. It’s a lie what people say that time flies when you are having fun, because this year hasn’t been fun at all.It's been busy, steep learning curve, some bad decisions,a lot of tears/sadness, learning to listen more as opposed to talking a lot,because surprise surprise people actually do know more( a lot more) than you do. Yet here I am thinking the first half of this year has swished past me.I wonder what people who are actually having a good year think.

Early this year, in what ironically seems like a life time ago I went to Dakar on a work trip. Dakar is mostly nothing like Nairobi because it's way less congested and is coastal. If these two cities were female Nairobi would be the loud flashy girl that everybody loves to hate and Dakar will be the classy girl, who knows it's all in the subtle details like wearing pastels as opposed to Nairobi that will in it's flashiness be a representative of 'yaliyo ndwele sipite' county.
Dakar in all it's pastel glory
Where else do horses pull carts,if horses could talk to each other the ones in Dakar would cry when they heard how those in Nairobi are treated like royalty

Dakar in all it's classiness has matatus that are so shady and years behind Nairobi matatus.
What should one do each time they visit a new place; meet someone new (in my case visit new places), eat something new and buy something new. 

Meet someone new (visit new places)

I didn’t actively try to meet new people and even if I had there is the big thing that is language barrier as the people of Dakar speak French, therefore even if I had decided to go out of my comfort zone and talk more to people, it wouldn’t have been possible because each time I spoke to anyone to ask for directions or something like that, their standard answer was always-No English or English very little. Word of advise to any lady who might be going to Dakar,the men be fine!!!!! The true embodiment of tall,dark,handsome and sculpted.So if you are on the hunt or anything brush up on your French, at-least words like 'oh you are so handsome' or 'you are like the best coffee:tall,dark and strong' or 'so, tell me; how does it feel to look so great' and any other line that might work (ha ha ha).

The African renaissance monument
This is the tallest statue in Africa that has some history behind it's construction and the one that I found funniest is that the first time it was completed the lady in the statue had a much shorter skirt and there was an uproar by the community and so she was given a longer skirt 😱😀😀

The way up to the museum
The view of Dakar town,when one is half-way the stairs to the renaissance museum
Showing solidarity with the lady in the statue

Dakar’s Grand Mosque

The grand mosque has to be the most beautiful mosque I have ever seen.It's so beautiful that I don't have words to describe it.

I lost all my grand mosque pictures and got this from the internet but best believe it's a very beautiful mosque.

 Goree Island.

Goree is an Island, that is a 20 minutes ferry ride from Dakar.It's has a dark past in that it was the Island that was the slave market.Goree has a couple of museums in it and I was lucky enough to visit two of those, the famous slave house and IFAN historical museum.I learnt a little about slave trade; so slave traders would identify a village that had a lot of strong people in it and then in the middle of the night when everyone was asleep they would come, many of them and attack said village and take everyone they considered 'good enough',then they would chain them together and take them to Goree and sell them in an open air market.Also the biggest shocker some slave traders came under the disguise of religion aka spreading christianity.

Goree is such a pretty Island,the colours, food joints by the sea and just the coastal vibe there will have you considering starting a curio/tie-dye shop to make a living and to never go back home.
Beautiful Goree
The local administration's office that I initially thought was a museum.
The museum's compound
A slave boat.That iron rod at the back was used by slave traders to 'hang' slaves, their arms were put in those ring like things.

The Atlantic Ocean 

I know, the ocean doesn't count for much but since I have been lucky enough to see and live by the Indian Ocean(hello Eyl,Mogadishu and Bosasso), the red sea(hello Berbera), it seems fitting to talk about this 'accomplishment' here.What do you know, all ocean water is salty.the biggest difference I noticed is that the Atlantic ocean in Dakar is surfers' heaven, how do I know this? the number of people I saw surfing!! so so many and even small children that I thought the waves would carry.Also the shore is the firmest ever!

Water so clear :-)

Surfers going home after a fun day with the waves
Sea-side eateries
Eat something new.
ha ha ha
One of the things that was very clear to me as I was going to Dakar was that I was going to eat and eat and eat.Funniest thing happened to me,French is Dakar's most spoken language and it goes without saying that menu's in restaurant will be in French and how would I have known that they call fish poisson in French.We all know my love for cake so I figured I will balance things out and eat a salad and poisson.I am sure the waiter at the hotel thought greedy woman when I made my order.I basically had ordered two huge plates of food and ended up not eating the poisson.At the time I thought poisson meant cakes because my mind was playing games with me; since cakes are 'bad' food they must be called poisson in French.

I made sure to always eat foods that I was unfamiliar with and I ate so much that I came home 10 kgs heavier(I think). Bissap juice is what I loved the most,because I had never had hibsicus juice before and it's just oh so perfect, also that it's made by boiling dry hibiscus blew my mind because all the juices I know are made by blending or juicing the fruits.

Jebuje-the Senegalese national dish.
Bissap-aka my West-African love

Buy something new

One of the best ways to remember places you have been to, is to purchase items from said places that will always remind you of them.These can be anything because different people value different things.What did I get from Dakar? plenty of kitenge that I learnt is called wax in Dakar and that there are so many kinds, the differentiating factor being quality and how the fabric was made,also that lace is huge in West Africa and costs much more than vitenges.

The HLM market in Dakar

Kitenge heaven-so much to choose from.

Lace!!! who knew lace as a fabric can be this huge.

 Dakar is one beautiful city!