I went to Dakar on a business-related trip in October, 2003. I was accompanied by a colleague who had never been to a developing country before. We arrived around 1:00 a.m. and after waiting a while our luggage came out – or at least mine did. Luggage kept coming out and gradually as passengers picked up their luggage there as less and less luggage on the conveyor. My colleague was really getting worried. She was sure that hers had been lost. Finally the very last of the luggage came out and right at the end, the very last piece, there was hers. Phew!
We left the airport to find what seemed to be around 300 mildly threatening looking guys with taxis. We asked one of them how much to go to our hotel and were told $300. Luckily I’d checked with some of our local staff in advance and been told no more than $2. We reached agreement with one of the drivers and he piled our luggage very precariously in a very small car trunk and off we went. I noticed that the windshield was cracked – in fact I subsequently discovered that every taxi we took had a broken windshield. We went down a paved road and after a few minutes the taxi turned off onto a dirt road. My colleague was very concerned at this point. She thought that he was going to take us out into the jungle and kill us. However, after following the shortcut for a few minutes we arrived at the hotel, which turned out to be about five minutes away from the airport.
From the price we were paying for the hotel I wasn’t expecting much, but was pleasantly surprised. The rooms were spacious: two floors with a living room downstairs and a bedroom upstairs and a fantastic view out over the sea (see picture above). My colleague remarked about so many people enjoying the sea. Actually they lived in shacks on the beach and were trying to escape the heat. Other than a place to serve breakfast the hotel had no restaurant of its own, but luckily there were a number of really good restaurants just a short walk along the beach away.
Since we were working we didn’t have a lot of free time, but we were able to take time out to go to Goree Island, where the rest of the pictures were taken and which was the last destination before the new world for many slaves. The slave house has a really oppressive feel to it – so much so that my colleague couldn’t take it and had to go outside.
Children swimming off Goree Island. Actually they were diving for coins.
Slave Memorial Statue Ile Goree Dakar Senegal West Africa. This is significantly manipulated. In reality the background to the statue is a plain wall, but I didn’t like that and replaced with this one. I don’t usually do this much manipulation, but to me this fabulous statue needed a better background than a plain wall.
Painting. I know I bought one and my colleague bought another. I can’t remember which one this is. I bought mine for my wife, but I guess she didn’t like it much because it was never framed and I have no idea what became of it.