sabato 14 gennaio 2012

Senegal Style

Finally Senegal time has started. My first contact has been at Dakar airport where a local crowd of shouting vendors and awkers has puzzled me and other passengers not accustomed to Africa a lot. Luckily enough Ale since the first time demonstrated me to be not only punctual and clever, but also deserved all my trust. In fact he was waiting for me with his lovely and amazing cuisiniere, Djenova, in the car park. Dakar is a huge, hectic, colourful, interesting and sandy city. Only its main and city center roads are tarred, whereas the smaller ones are just sandy, as well as there are very few road signals and road lights,its also amazing to notice how many buildings are in progress waiting to be completed. No need to say that traffic jam is a normal side effect of a metropolis, however even during these unpleasant moments you can taste the quiet and friendly attitude of this people in fact although no rule seem to be respected by car and motorbike drivers or pedestrians,  when they are on the verge to crash each other, they put one arm outside of the window, ask, talk, or greet something and the result will be a peaceful agreement about who and why one should pass and the other wait . I assisted in Saly/Mbour a scene in which a man risked to be stirred under an enormous truck tyre, well the driver excuses have been perfectly accepted by the poor pedestrian who risked a serious accident! Another interesting mean of transport in Dakar is a kind of collective Minibus called Car Rapid, which is a wonderful piece of road art, filled with colours, eyes and paintings, as for other cars and taxis, my main wonder was how could these already died European or American car continue to work sturdily in Dakar, even with wooden windows, even with multilayer tyres, even with  pieces of different other cars. The best happened to us last week end when, after a night at La Passio, in Almady, we had the bad chance to take an Iranian taxi, I neither suspected that the ayatollah country was producing and selling cars abroad. The car seemed in a very good condition, if not luxurious for Dakar standard, but just a few kilometers we punctured a weel, and after the driver bravely changed it, he could not get off the handbrakes, then he used a hammer and after a long 5 minutes he succeeded. Dakar has a lovely mild climate in January with hot but windy bearable temperatures in the day and cool nights, the city is safe, except for some banlieu like Pikine,and mosquitoes are not that worrying problem I was afraid of. Ile the Gore, where 15 million slaves waited to be deported in central or south America if did not die before, and the huge statue of African Renaissance are the only 2 touristing spots, both worth a visit, I have so far experienced. Yet last week Ale brought me to buy some fresh and inexpensive fish to Yof Tongor market, directly on the beach. The spectacle of fishermen, women selling it after long bargaining, women cleaning it up, kids playing around, was great but locals were not so friendly and didn’t accept to be photographed by a white Toubab, Ale who was and still is the knife that let me enter into local culture, could take easily  as many photos as he wished, but even so, he always politely asked the permission. Although my 20 years of travelling abroad, since I can not speak any word of Wolof and since I don’t know at all this expensive city, I could not appreciate as much as I am doing it now, Senegalese culture if I had not Ale and his wife next to me.

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