Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Try A Few Times And Then You'll Succeed

Let's continue off where we left off. After Thies and Keur Moussa, we were off for St-Louis. Before leaving though, we went to a small market where I discovered the art of bargaining. Bargaining is not what I expected. It wasn't hard, but it was stressful. They always made you feel bad. But I was proud of myself when I got some good purchases. Also, I asked my boyfriend to bargain for me when I was too freaked out. Once, I asked a vendor why they weren't able to give a fixed price and he asked me where the fun is in that. At that moment I discovered that this stressful yet amusing way of trading was a social experience where you got to talk to people. Isn't that a great excuse to talk to someone!

Anyways, after a long bus ride filled with sleep (I slept all the time on the bus) we finally arrived at St-Louis where we went to a small restaurant where we ate something else than fish that sadly made our stomachs mad. We spent our afternoon walking around the small colonial island and discovering more about the past. I really liked this city, mostly because it had a history where women were quite important. Indeed, there were groups of half African, half Portuguese women who were basically ran the place because of the lack of men. I sadly don't remember more, but if it might interest you, you can go check out the Signares on the Interweb.

We then spent a night in a hotel that seemed nice at first but at second thought was kind of creepy. A's room was infiltrated that night and she sadly got her bag stolen which really sucks at least no one got hurt. After our beauty sleep, we were on the road again. This time, we were going to the desert of Lompoul. It was mind blowing! First, we met up with some locals who talked to us about their tree plantation project to protect the villages from becoming total desert. After taking a truck ride through the site, we were off on a 3 hours walk to our camping ground... in the desert. For the first hour and a half, we went through the bush, but then we went up this hill and there it was: the endless sand and camels in the distance. It was incredible. In the evening, I paced through the infinite dunes with a friend. It was so big yet I felt almost claustrophobic. It was the weirdest feeling. I think this was one of the highlights of my trip. The next day we went to Lompoul on camels. It was a blast! We got to spend the afternoon in a secluded part of the village where we cooked and harvested onions with the women under a beautiful tree. After a good but slightly sandy meal, we met the chief who told us all about his village and his misogynistic values. It was interesting to discover different mentalities, but very irritating too. Later, we arrived in Mbour where we stayed in a resort-like hotel. It was nice because we got to relax for the first time since the beginning of the trip, but I also felt like a snob for being in such an environment.

On April 4th was Independence day and there was lots of celebration. We, on the other hand, were off to a secluded yet touristic place: Lake Retba, a pink lake (purple depending on the weather). It was very quiet but our route their wasn't. Our driver accidentally went through the national parade and people started hitting our bus and yelling at us. I felt awful. We finally got out and it was cool to be by the water and hang out. We hung out a long time there though because our bus conked out on us. So we had to wait for two smaller buses to pick us up. Meanwhile, we were in the middle of nowhere and we had nothing to do. It was fun at first because I joked around with my friends, but after a while it got very tiring. My friends and I waited a total of 5 hours before arriving back to the hotel. I was happy to be back especially because I had been to that hotel before at the beginning of our trip.

On our final day, we went to the island of Gorée. It was a beautiful island, but I didn't want to stay too long. The beautiful colors of the island hid a dark past that saddened me. Gorée used to be a slavery island when the Portuguese colonized. This visit opened my eyes on the dehumanizing lives people had to live in for over 500 years. It was sad for the people who were slaves, but it was sad to know how ignorant the white people were and how there were able to live with this cruelty on there conscience.

The next day, we went to the beach for the last time before heading back to Canada and back to what seemed to be reality. This trip was so amazing. It made me feel so uplifted and happy about myself. On the other hand, I was also made me realize the harsh conditions of the world and how we are so unbelievably lucky. This conclusion might sound cheesy to you but it's the truth. Traveling made me learn more than I ever learned in school. That's why I want to travel as much as possible.

PS: I forgot to mention I went to an animal reserve. I don't know when we went but I did go and it was awesome!

My friend was bargaining with this man that reminded me of my dad. Not only his appearance but with his body language too. It was quite funny. I had to buy a necklace from him.

All of the above: St-Louis


Parc Djoudj

Lake Retba (the white foam is mostly salt!)


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