Sunday, March 9, 2008

salaam maleekum!
Lu bees?
I'm back from Spring Break. I had an amazing time - lots of adventures and stories which I will be sure to share in the following paragraphs.
I'll give a brief overview first though, for those of you who don't like to read a lot.

Friday - Sunday: St. Louis
*flood at my uncle's house
*Parc National de la Langue de Barbarie (bird park)
*night club where we met a British guy whose name was actually Darcy. (Mr. Darcy!)

Monday - Wednesday: Popenguine
*Random guy on the beach singing "I Will Survive"
*Accro Baobab (high ropes course through Baobab trees)
*Chilling on the beach

Wednesday - Friday: Toubab Dialaw
*More chilling on the beach
*Horseback riding through the African bush

Friday - Saturday: Joal-Fadiout
*Tour of the 'Island made entirely of seashells'


Now, for those of you who love details... here's more about what happened on our trip:

FRIDAY morning we set off for St. Louis (pronounced sahn loo ee. We had the lovely experience of being crammed into a sept place (taxi with 7 seats) for 4 hours with no stops in between (unless you count the time that the taxi man 'pulled over' to get a cup of coffee - I say 'pulled over' because he never got out of the car - he just handed a woman some money and she handed him some coffee).

Once we arrived at the gare routiere in St. Louis (where the 7 place drops you off) we called my host mother's brother and he came and picked us up and took us to his/ his mother's house. We ended up staying at their house while we were in St. Louis.

Friday night we went out to "Le Biblos" where we heard some live music (an electric guitarist, electric bass, drum set, and a jembe and sabar drum) complete with members of the audience dancing (NO not me... they were REALLY good Senegalese dancers). It was at this very place that we met into a couple of European students one of who was named Darcy - which we all got a kick out of seeing as we're all huge "Pride and Prejudice" fans.

SATURDAY morning around 5am we awoke to discover that there was about an inch of water covering our entire room.
The bolt (?) connecting one of the pipes to the toilet had broken and water flooded the entire hallway and our room. It was quite an adventure trying to use a broom and and some towels to push the water outside, and then dragging everything outside so that it could dry. No real lasting damage was done though, and my uncle fixed the bolt that same day so it all worked out alright.

After napping away the rest of the morning, we decided to go to the Parc National de
la Langue de Barbarie where we took a pirogue (little fishing boat) tour around this island/inlet thing that houses tons of birds (I don't know how many, but it's a lot).
We saw a ton of Pelicans. I had no idea how BIG Pelicans actually are. They're a lot bigger then I'd ever realized.

SUNDAY we left St. Louis in the afternoon and spent most of the day traveling to Thies. We ended up taking a really big ndjay ndjay (sp?) which was sort of like a really big, white cross between a car rapide and a bus. We crammed more people than I ever imagined possible into this thing, complete with people standing on the back of it holding on to the ladder. I think at one point there were even some people riding on the roof. (Don't worry, we all had seats inside and were perfectly safe).

We had about a 3 and 1/2 to 4 hour ride on the bus. At one point we did get stopped by the Gendarmerie though, and the three of us were forced to get out and show our passports.

Once we arrived in Thies we spent the night at a really nice hotel called the Bidew Bi. We were all so tired we just crashed and then the next day we left for Popenguine.


MONDAY we arrived at a womens campement in Popenguine where we spent several hours relaxing on the beach, where we ran into a man who had an instrument resembling half of a calabash with a canvas spread out over it and then there was a little hole where 3 metal, piano like keys were. He then proceeded to sing "I Will Survive" and it was just a very hilarious sight to see.

TUESDAY we went to Accro Baobab where we spent the majority of the day on a high ropes course in between Baobab trees. It was SO much fun!


WEDNESDAY morning we headed off to Toubab Dialaw (the same place we went with our classmates a few weeks earlier). It was so nice just being able to relax on the hammocks and hang out by the beach.

I ran into the same ladies who had sold me jewelery the last time I had been there and I was really impressed that they remembered my name. I ended up buying some more jewelery from them and they gave us a bunch more jewelery as gifts in return. It was really sweet.

THURSDAY morning and afternoon we just hung out around the hotel and on the beach. However, Thursday evening Natalie and I went horseback riding. It was so beautiful and surreal riding along and seeing all of this beautiful scenery. I even got to gallop for a little bit - which was by far the highlight of my day.


FRIDAY morning we left for Joal-Fadiout which is the birth place of Senghor (Senegal's first president).
There we ran into some other CIEE students which was pretty sweet/random.
We visited the island of Fadiout which is theoretically made entirely out of shells. It's true that there are shells all along the ground, but I have a hard time believing that it's just shells.
There's a large Christian cemetery there which we spent a good deal of time in - it was up on a hill so you could see a lot of the landscape and it was just really pretty.


SATURDAY was pretty uneventful. We left our hotel and took a taxi to the gare routiere where we found a sept place to take us back to Dakar.
Traffic coming into Dakar was horrendous though, due to the World Islamic Conference that is being held in Dakar this week.
We were stopped in traffic in the heat of the day for hours. Needless to say I was very grateful to have a cold shower once I got back home.

Well I think I've written enough to keep you all busy for a while. It's hard to believe that it's already March and I'll be coming back home in a couple of months.
Time has gone by really quickly here.

Ba beneen yoon,


Dannielle said...

:) So fun... I am glad you are having such fun adventures... I am currently in Briscoe as a SB RA and am having an especially uneventful week... but at least I am relaxing, right?

Love ya!


B.Mullett said...

Hi, Kelly, Looks like you had a really great spring break. Love your jewelry, white horse and outfit. You missed 12 inches of snow last weekend. Nice today.Love, Grandma. M.

mom said...

Thanks for the details. I enjoy reading about your adventures. The pictures are beautiful also. That is amazing that the jewelry girl remembered your name. I was thinking your adventures at Springhill helped prepare you for this ............a little with the horses and ropes course things. We are all well. Did your birthday box arrive yet?
Love, mom

Amy Marie said...

Kelly, you look really pretty in the picture with the horse. I miss seeing you each week, but I'm glad you're over there having fun.