Donkey Crossing

Welcome to Donkey Crossing! Donkey Crossing is an on-line account of one Limey and one Yank living one Dream. From September 2006 until the end of 2007, we plan to visit friends and family on five continents and immerse ourselves into various cultures, natural phenomena and ways of life. We hope you enjoy our tales and visit often! Cheers, Jason and Rachel Napoli

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Leaving Mauritania, all we wanted to do was soak up some sun and rest our packs for a while on a tranquil Senegalese beach. Which beach was a very easy decision, as the historic, colonial town of Saint Louis is only a couple hours from the Mauritanian border. Saint Louis is actually an island sandwiched between the African mainland and a peninsula which is home to some of the most beautiful beaches on the continent. We opted not to stay in Saint Louis proper and found ourselves in a lovely bungalow on the gorgeous peninsula known as "Langue de Barbarie".

Our bungalow for the first four nights in Senegal was a very welcomed change after sleeping on top of Saharan sand.

We happily traded the sand of the Sahara for that of the Atlantic.

Saint Louis was our first introduction to "black" Africa. We immediately felt a new energy and zest for life in contrast to reserved Arab Africa, and we happily embraced the shift.

Local folk in colorful dress look on as the day's catch is unloaded from some of Saint Louis' huge fleet of fishing boats.

Most of the catch is rushed off to the local markets, while some is left to dry in the midday sun and later used in various Senegalese dishes.

We came across this curious looking bakery, although the proprietor was nowhere to be found.

The immediate highlight of our accommodation (Hotel Diamarek), other than the glorious pool and proximity to the Atlantic, was the people. We were constantly greeted with genuine smiles from everyone around. We felt a strong sense of pride among the local population and felt exceptionally welcome and comfortable.

The one local that left the greatest impression on us was an employee at the hotel named Baithe (pronounced "batch"). Baithe was the first to greet us upon arrival at the hotel, escorted us through the registration process and happily tossed our tired backpacks into a wheelbarrow before leading us to our bungalow. Baithe is also a resident artist at the hotel. We received an enjoyable and thorough presenation of different media in which Baithe practices and we happily purchased some beautiful pieces of work.

Saint Louis was the perfect introduction to Senegal after such a challenging stretch of travel through Mauritania (Did I mention we paid our first governmental bribe to an immigration official upon departure from Mauritania? The border was closed for a three hour lunch break when we arrived, and after a 10 dollar 'gift', one official took a break between courses to let us through).

It was difficult to leave our lovely bungalow on the tranquil peninsula, however we knew we had to get into a more urban frame of mind as we descended upon the power that is called DAKAR.

Visit back soon to read about our first impressions of Africa's most amazing capital city!!!


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