February 06, 2004

Big Bad Dakar

In the end, Dakar was big but not that bad. It was in fact much more pleasant than I expected it to be. The day I arrived was a public holiday, and the whole of Dakar was completely deserted. It was like some science-fiction ghost town.
I found a nice enough hotel, but it wasn't too long before the cleaner knocked on my door and checked if I needed a woman. 'It is no problem', he declared.
After politely declining his offer, I went to central Dakar looking for a cashpoint. The first two I tried said, 'Sorry, your bank has declined the request'. I got lucky the 3rd time, and the machine produced some money. I think the cashpoints of Dakar need more work on their error messages.
The next day, i took a brief stop at the Mali embassy, where getting a visa is very straightforward - Mauritanians in Casablanca take note. The rest of day was sightseeing by taxi, which Mark had booked for 3 days, and he very kindly asked me along for the ride. Dakar is in a great location at the end of a peninusla, with a few small islands dotted around, and you don't have to go to far from the center to get to some pretty nice places. The actual city centre of Dakar I found surprisingly pleasant, although outside the centre it's pretty horrible urban sprawl. We took lunch on a hotel roof with panoramic views of the city, and in the evening went to a place that allegedly had live music, though none actually materialised. The woman at the embassy got the visa done in the same day, as Mark had already talked her into it on Friday, so I had an early night and prepared to set off for The Gambia.

Posted by paul at February 6, 2004 09:05 PM