As of two days ago my Africa adventure in Senegal was going smoothly. Despite flight connections on several different airlines, a number of multi-hour taxi rides, and a myriad of hotel reservations, my boyfriend and I had not encountered a single snag.
After our final day in Dakar, my boyfriend and I got back in our taxi for the long drive down the hot dusty coast of Senegal. Passing small villages with cinder block buildings and thatched roofed huts, donkey carts moving slowly down the roadside, and towns full of colorful tourist shops, we eventually came to the end of the paved road. Not stopping there, we pushed further south along a potholed red dirt track flanked on either side by dry brush punctuated by centuries old baobab trees.
After six days of non-stop traveling, my boyfriend and I woke up on Monday and decided that we needed to give ourselves a little bit of time to relax.
We sat by the pool at Le Meridien in Dakar from 10am until almost 2pm, reading books and sipping café au lait. I have to admit that I had a hard time with it. Being type A++, I wanted to be on the move, exploring more of Dakar.
However, I was also exhausted and running low on energy, and knew that I needed to take some time to rest if I wanted to keep up the pace of the first half of the trip.
The first thing that struck me about Dakar was how much more developed it was than Bamako. Tall buildings—or really any buildings at all—were a stark contrast to the low-slung structures that lined the streets of the Malian capital. All of the roads were paved instead of just the few main streets, and some of the buildings reminded me of ones I would see back home in London.
One of the nice things about living in London is that seemingly every country in the world has an embassy, high commission, or other visa-dispensing diplomatic mission in the city. Sometimes this makes it really easy to get visas. It also sometimes works to my advantage when the UK visa fees are lower than the US ones, as sometimes I’m only required to pay the UK fee despite my blue-and-gold passport.