Welcome to Dakar, the capital city of Senegal.
Senegal is a country in the western part of Africa. As you can see from the map, a great portion of it faces the Atlantic Ocean, thus, its major role of the Atlantic Slave Trade. Senegalese speak French due to the French colonization in Senegal. I have also noticed that many Senegalese men are really, really tall like 6’5″and taller. I wondered if this is where those Black basketball players come from.
Another interesting information of the map of Senegal is that within it, you will find another country called The Gambia or officially the Republic of the Gambia. Senegal was named after the Senegal River. It was the same with Gambia, also named after another river, the Gambia River.
This was my first time to visit Senegal. Nothing much was written on the web about Senegal so my expectation was nothing much either. The closest I know about it was that old Dakar Noir perfume. How thorough was that? So I let the word of mouth from the crew to tell my feet where to go.
Everyone was dead tired by the time we reached to the hotel. I really wanted to sleep as soon as I could, but when I opened the window, the ocean view thrilled me too much I just had to come down. I could hear the ocean breeze calling out my name.
I had a wonderful dinner with the crew.
The next day, six crew wanted to visit Goree Island, so that was where I went too. We took a an organized tour who picked us up from the hotel to the island and back.
We picked up our tour guide ( whose name I have forgotten, I am sorry) along the way. It was about 20 minutes ride until we reached the port.
Bought my ticket. Ready to board.
Mosaic tile design inside the port.
On board the ferry with my Aussie colleague. A tip to future travelers to the Goree Island: Stall owners at the island will be on board the ferry too. If you don’t want to be continuously pestered throughout your journey and at the island too, politely say that you will not be buying anything. Don’t make promises that you can’t keep because they might not forgive you for that.
Goree Island is more famously known as the Island of the Slave Trade. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site because it is the location of the infamous House of Slaves.
Upon setting my foot into the island, I found it very colorful. The houses were painted the rich shades of yellow, red and other earth tones. The women were clad in bright hues of green, pink, blue or a combination of many colors. Boughs of bougainvilleas crawled all over the painted gates and covered them with warmest shades of violet, pink, orange and red, as a cheerful nod to the generous gift of eternal sunshine. Even the sand was a bashful pink.
Most of all, the little kids were the cutest! They were very friendly too. They loved to be around with foreigners and they couldn’t get enough of my chocolates. I wish I brought some more.
Bienvenue a’ Goree’.
This statue represented the families torn apart during the slave trade.
The infamous museum of the Door of No Return.
The metal of horrors. The slaves were bound not only in their hands but also in their feet.
This is the Door of No Return. From this door, a plank was connected to the vessels that transported the slaves to wherever they were sold. Many slaves preferred to end their lives by jumping into the shark-infested sea rather than to continue into their perilous and grave journey of slavery. During the slave trade, sharks frequented Goree Island and followed the ships that carried the slaves because of the number of bodies being thrown into the sea.
The colorful houses of Goree.
The Bo Tree–the most sacred tree in Senegal. Senegalese believe that this tree represents the start and the end of life.
Tiny stalls in the island. Women sold handmade accessories and traditional dresses while men sold wood carvings and paintings.
I love narrow streets. Something about them that I find very mysterious.
A catholic church in this primarily Muslim island. Muslims, Christians and animists co-exist peacefully in Senegal.
The first medical university in Goree. This building was previously owned by a beautiful senhora. Senhora was a title given to a half Senegalese, half white woman.
Locals still brush their teeth this way. Not only did it clean their teeth but it also kept their hand and mouth occupied. It was quite effective, I have to say.
Black kids are just the cutest and the sweetest! How adorable!
A camera shy local woman vendor who balanced the fruits she was selling on the top of her head. The locals, except for the kids, avoided the camera like a plague. I had to bribe her with 5 USD to make her smile and pose with me.
The Artist Walk
I was finally able to leave my lock. It overlooked the most prestigious girls’ school in Senegal.
I bought myself a local artwork made from naturally colored sands from the different deserts of Africa.
The only recent structure that was allowed by UNESCO to be built in Goree. It showed a half-submerged hull of a ship, commemorating the lives lost during the slave trade.
The WW2 Vichy cannons at a rocky plateau on the island of Goree. The cannons had a range of 14 kilometers but was only used once to sink an English ship that was not even a warship. It only carried food supplies onboard.
Lunch. It’s more fun in Senegal. 🙂
Most men wear similar rings on their finger. The parents would keep their first tooth that fall out and put it inside the ring to be given to them on their 18th birthday.
Three hours later, it was time to say goodbye.
Cute heart detail
The Presidential Palace in Dakar, Senegal.
A mosque by the beach
The last stop of the tour–the tallest statue in Senegal, the African Renaissance Monument, said to be taller than the Statue of Liberty. The building of the statue was commissioned to the North Korean government with a warranty of up to 2 000 years and cost the country $27M. The statue solicited numerous criticisms, not only economically, but also morally, with regards to the bare breasts of the woman and the semi-naked man.
Nonetheless, the size of the statue in person was very astounding.
And with that I say, It was nice meeting you, Dakar. 🙂 Au reevoir, ma cherie!
On another day, I will definitely dip my toes in the Lac Rose, or the Pink Lake. Its high sodium content absorbs so much pink lightwaves during sunset that it appears to be pink and lovely when the sun goes down.