Welcome to Dakar!

This morning, I realized that I hadn’t posted any pictures of Dakar, or talked about my first impressions since arriving 2 days ago.

I’m also having some issues with Blogger and the uploading function, so the pictures might have to wait. Oh well. Onward!

One of the first things I noticed when I arrive to Dakar was the GIANT statue in the center of the city. I had seen pictures of it before, because Brenda posted pictures of it and her being next to it. I thought, Okay, a pretty and tall statue. I’ll go see it sometime. Let me just tell you… I SERIOUSLY underestimated the size of this statue. It looked HUGE from the taxi as soon as we left the airport. That statue must be the size of the Parthenon, and I will get to compare the two when I go to Greece in February.

The traffic here is also something to behold. There aren’t really signals, or signs, or anything like that. There are as many taxis (if not more) than any other car on the road, and there are scooters and motorbikes everywhere. Oh, and the buses here are multicolored and rusty, but super neat looking. One of the back doors remains open, and there’s a ladder on the other door so people can climb in. If you want to get on a bus, shout to the driver your destination, and if the driver shouts back to you, hop on!

I also noticed that there are many unfinished buildings in Dakar. They all seem to be at the cement/brick stage, and many of them even have a crane next to them, like it’s stopped in time waiting for the next lift operator and brick.

The people in Dakar have incredibly diverse fashion, especially the women. Some women wear pants and tops much like you would see in the U.S. or Europe. Others wear long skirts and shirts, and still others wear the traditional Senegalese dress, normally 2 pieces (a skirt and top) with a head wrap in matching fabric. This is different than what I know as the “hijab,” though some women here cover their hair in that style, as well. With the traditional Senegalese dress, the hair is wrapped with fabric, but it is flouted at different points around the head and looks like a flower from some angles.

Men in Dakar wear traditional long-sleeved shirts that reach to the ground over similar colored trousers and a hat, or they wear “Western-style” clothing. I have also seen men in nice suits, though their jackets are more patterned than business styles in the U.S.

It seems that the people here are incredibly fashionable, and have a good spirit, even if they are not smiling when they walk by.

My first meal here was at the local restaurant in my neighborhood; the landlady’s sons walked us their and found owner’s son (who could speak English) to seat us and take our order. A lot of the furniture I have seen, including the kitchen set in my flat, is lawn furniture. The tables were fairly low to the ground, and most people were sitting on lawn chairs in stacks of 2. They did this because aside from the concrete walkway, the entire floor of the restaurant was covered in seashells!

I have not done well taking pictures the past 48 hours due to work and trying to ground myself in this experience, but starting this evening I will make more time to take photos, as there are so many interesting things to see around Dakar.

Happy Hump Day!

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