Three million inhabitants, Senegal’s Capital city, Dakar is a city full of traits that make it a destination alluring for tourists. One of those traits is the famous Paris- Dakar. Even though if you want to attend it, nowadays you need to take into account to go halfway across the world.Football is another big star here, and in the street you’re going to see loads of people with the famous Lion’s t-shirt. And the food, and the people. But let’s go step by step. Dakar is similar to other African cities I visited, but more clean and tourist- friendly. So the first night I felt myself safe enough and brave to take a taxi and go a bit out of the city, close to the sea, in a restaurant managed (I discovered later) by a nice woman from Liguria, Italy.
But what exactly is Dakar?
I thought about an answer for so long since I figured it out how useless was the question itself. Better asking: what are the sensations this city give to you? Better, which images remained trapped inside your pen and paper in a way you couldn’t erase anymore? Step one, the sidewalks without start or ending, mixed with a sandy smelly fog due to Flinstones’ cars all around.
Plants without owner, anarchists trees whose motto seems to be “sorry, humans, we don’t care about Senegal or Dakar, that’s home for us”. They grow everywhere, in the stairs in front of the Post office, vertical from half-open doors in a “audiovisual recording centre”, they occupy windows and balconies of abandoned houses. Dakar is also full of people with huge boxes over their head and an incredibly straight back, Armani Senegal models jogging with flip-flops in the traffic and other brave trying not to be killed cycling through the crazy traffic. Dakar is also happy music everywhere, people dancing under the sun with a bunch of bananas over their head. In a word, it’s life.
And the winner is…
In a small street just outside the city, I found my personal winner. He’s selling his furniture (the best of Senegal, says an handwritten adv attached to one sofa) while sitting in his donkey chewing a small plant. In one of his extraordinary leather armchairs you’re not going to see a dog or a cat sleeping, nah. A brown goat with a white muzzle is peacefully resting there. If not the most beautiful, the cutest goat in Senegal, I must say.
Il monumento alla Rinascita del Senegal
All of you probably had the experience of staying under a 160 ft tall statue. No?Well, even for me, after the tallest tower in Japan, it was a shocking first time. I’m sorry for my Senegalese friends, but I think they’ll agree with me when I’m saying that Senegal needs a lot of other infrastructures before this huge statue. Not only the money spent by the government, but also the fact that we’re in a Muslim country and a big breast pops- out of the t- shirt of the woman in the statue. Ali said this is one of the reason that leads Senegal population to change their President in the last election. Even though I agree with Senegal, as a tourist I can say I got fascinated by the figure. A man and a woman with a child watching at the Ocean without any fear, anymore.
As a matter of fact, imagining a North Korean company working in Senegal to make a giant statue is something quite shocking in itself. For the one of you that like statistics: this is the tallest statue of the African Continent. Senegal can be proud of saying that it’s 9 feet taller than american Statue of Liberty.
A whole rose lake
Let’s make it clear. Firs, this lake is really rose, but not as in the pictures (Photoshop?). Second, its name is Retba Lake, before changing the name in a more touristic Rose Lake. I’m not going to get you bored with the reasons why it changes its colour once in a day. However, I can tell you that if you’re searching for salt, this is the right place for it. All around the lake you can find a massive amount of it, grouped together in piles and piles all around the lake.
Guess what is the most common work here? Yes, in a way or another has something to do with the salt. If you ever try to swim in the lake, you’ll feel your feet burning and you’ll find yourself floating. That’s because the salt concentration is really high. The salt extractors make a community service, without them it would be The Salty Lake, which is less poetic than Rose Lake for sure, no?.