St. Louis, faible/weak. And Zebrabar
Where did I get it, in Nouakchott? or here in St.Louis?
The undestroyable spirit that usually guides me has left me on one someday. Was it the day we have left Nouakchott, the day after the night I finished a bottle of whisky with Kevin the great Irish.
Or the first night in Camping Dior in St.Louis/beach where (unprepared we were) slept the night without a mosquito net.
Hasna covers herself in the sheets and sweats through the night .
I opt for scratching my bites - all night through.
A mosquito net, the biggest must around here, we buy it a couple of days later
Le paludisme. Malaria. It's the season. All sky-clear for the doctor.
Welcome to West Africa.
The thing that worries me in these short two weeks in St.Louis, first on the Dior Camping and later in Zebrabar is the loss of drive to plan ahead, and the lack of actual power and will to get moving again. Lacklustre I hang about, blame the sun and the humidity for my general fatigue...
Some chest pain on one day that moves to my kidneys and abdomen the next morning and creeps into the bones of my legs the next day.
Dizziness and headache any other day (can't possibly all be due to my beer consumption), make me just sit-down in the shallow water of the Lagoon behind Zebrabar all day, I don't move. Any drive to town is really too hard for me.
Given all that, life is still ok - when you're close to paradise - when you think that it cannot possibly be Malaria, as there is no fever....
Lac Rose/Couleur Café
I sleep it out. 2 on the first day/1 on each of the following 3 days, Malaria vaccines, Hasna seems to have rendered them all her life. 5 days of antibiotics and sleep and sweat. The night under the mosquito net, - let it sweat during the day.
We are in Couleur Café on Lac Rose, run and owned by Vincent and Stefanie, the nicest and most caring people I could have hoped for.
But it is just sleeping it out, only on day 5 I can join a conversation and enjoy it.
We come here on 05 Oct, by the beach, a drive south of some 150km at low tide. It was really Hasna who pushed me to get moving again.
The fever and shivering starts right after dinner, about 40°.
Still while in delirium that night, while not able to distinguish up and down, left and right I am glad it has started, happy! We'd get moving again soon.
The doctor in Rufisque the next morning prescribes everything for a Malaria treatment. "It's the season". A blood test later confirms, le paludisme (wiki) .
Dakar, une ville comme il faut.
We leave Couleur Café on 10th of October, after a pleasant evening, some beers and some Pastis, with Vicent, Stefanie, Thierry and Hèrve. Via Rufisque on very bad, sometimes flooded roads we reach Dakar late in the afternoon, the roads really make it a struggle to get here.
But - Dakar we like, the food/the beer, the town, newspapers and magazines, book shops and art galleries.
And we eat Charwarma at Alibaba's, a Lebanese fast food hangout, at least twice a day.
In Fouquet's a bar/restaurant, pretty central we listen to Charles and his Salsa Stars. A five-to-seven-men combo playing African Blues/Salsa (Africando). 3 drums/percussion, 3 guitars, all easy and simple with Charles' catchy voice.
We are the only guests. They've been playing here every night for the last 15 or so years. Just like and definitely as good as the Buena Vista thing. Or at least this is what it reminds me of.
The beer is not really cold, the food mediocre. But the Salsa Stars a fist full of cool moody blues.
And I switch over to Pastis anyway. And am glad I had 3 Charwarmas today.
Outside a massive thunderstorm is in the making, blowing over tables and chairs, - and it should rain until next morning.
Before we leave morning Thursday the 13th, another big down splash with heavy lightning and thunder just above central Dakar. Makes moving about difficult/idiotic/senseless/a wet undertaking.
Western Africa, and probably the more south we get the heavier they'll get, has massive, violent storms, frightening powerful and beautiful at once but a real problem for cities like Dakar.
While the central area stays under water only a short while, other parts of the town in summer remain flooded for months with the consequences of severe medical conditions. Cholera only being one of them.
Africa definitely has its health risks. Malaria (I've had it)/Cholera (a couple of cases in Rufisque/Dakar this summer, due to flooding)/Aids (for Africans it's above all Aids)/Parasites when you eat vegetables/and lots more.
Back in my hotel room in Dakar, I read the bird-flu pandemic article in Time magazine. Maybe after all we're safer down here in Africa I think and I think of somewhere between Timbouctou, Mali and Tamanghasset, Algeria.
I can feel it, I am back in the travelling and plan making business.
The Gambia/the police/paranoia?
We leave Dakar on the 13th of October, reach Couleur Café on Lac Rose via the east and north coast this time, for another pleasant evening at the bar, a few beers and some Pastis of course.
The next morning we head south via Rufisque, Mbour and Fatique, take the ferry over the Saloum River at Foundiougne and go further south some 40 kilometres. That evening we camp in the village of Djilor Saloum.
Further south we roll towards the border of Gambia the next morning. It should take us 8 hours to get to Banjul the capital of The Gambia,
The first police check is still in Senegal (no seat belt), I don't pay anything but it slows us down for an hour. Then the border with police, then customs, twice Senegal then Gambia, and everyone wants money, puts slight pressure on us. We smile, don't pay a dime. Just 10 Euros each for the Visas for Gambia!
Later in Sukuta we wonder why Kevin (Irish) and Dirk (German) and Theo (Belge) don't need Visas?!
But we refuse paying, in general, neither take the checks serious, nor the people carrying out these checks. They're out for baksheesh.
Taking the ferry over the River Gambia, it gets harder to actually not take no one serious anymore, 'cause everybody is asking for money.
It is a sad reality, time consuming is the hassle with police/immigration/customs/military. They're not in a war, but behave like they're fighting one. Freakin' paranoid. Some nice, some like little stupid jumping Jacks, jumping up and down, like bitten by some wild boa.
Hasna does not want to bother and once leaves her drivers licence with some jumping angry man. She does her shopping and returns an hour and a half later, "you give it back now?" "You give me some money!" he still insisted much weaker, much smaller then before. "I never give money!" She says these last words in English in order to impress two American friends, James and Angela who she has taken for a ride to town with the Land Rover.
A good story which is being retold day after day on the phone to friends and at the bar at night. But sad that this is what's being reported about Senegal/Gambia.
10 checks in 2 days in Gambia (the country is just some 50km high) is simply too much - and unacceptable for me. "We are not going to reveal our policy to you!" one of the higher ranked officers inside a police station near Banjul where I complained/investigated. But how then - can I ever understand?
Actually we like Gambia, and the Heinz and Moni Camping where we remeet Kevin the great Irish who we came down from Nouakchott with.
And we like those fishing villages, at the coast further south, Gunjur, Kartong. And we have a beer in the Sand Plover at the northern Cape Point Road.
And we like Senegal. But for both we need to bring more time and hopefully come back.