Celebrating my birthday in Dakar

I decided to spend my birthday on the beach instead of working on Friday. It was a great decision!

So… here are some pictures of my birthday island adventure and wine/snacks at the French Institute the following afternoon!

Showed up to the boat-launching beach wearing this lovely birthday present from Brenda.
Saw some interesting architecture on the island…
These are the “unfinished” structures that are all over the city. I believe this was to be a house, but has since been abandoned. 
I really liked the architecture of this house. 
I think this was a bed and breakfast.
 I’m not sure if anyone has lived here for a while. The property seemed abandoned.
Instead of going straight to the high point on the other side of the island, I decided I wanted to be near the waves on the rocks. 
It was incredible to just be in the midst of the waves falling over the rocks. I felt like I was in a nature film. Everything was peaceful and perfect. And the water felt amazing!

And here is a lovely video of the waves crashing over the rocks. ❤

I spent the next while at “The Point,” what I would call the top part of the island looking over the water and the Dakar shore. There were surfers taking on the waves on one side, and the expanse of the Atlantic Ocean was right in front of me. 
Being there, so disconnected from everything that occupies my thoughts at home, I was able to let go. I listened to the ocean, took deep breaths, and was present and thankful for the experience of being there on my birthday. 
We got chairs with mats on the beach in the same place as when I went with Brenda and Larson, but there were no mats on the ground because the water was so high. It came up beneath the chairs! Luckily, renting a chair/umbrella also means you get a small, enclosed changing area to keep your things. 
Of course, and cold drink wasn’t amiss. 
This is Mama Binbin. She came to sell me jewelry, and when I told her it was my birthday, she gave me a piece of blue beaded jewelry. 
I also bought these from her. 
After a while, it was time for lunch, so we went up to the restaurant where many of the other tourists were eating (I believe it is called Sunu). It’s *right* on the water and has food and drinks for decent prices.
The covered area of the restaurant
View from the covered area of the restaurant
The shrimp was fresh and delicious.
At the end of the day I was sad to go, but it was a great way to spend the day. 
Saturday – The French Institute
The French Institute is in the middle of downtown where all of the hotels and expats are, it seems. In order to enter, your bag must be searched and you are “wanded” with a small metal detector. 
 
This beautiful tree is the center of this quiet square in the middle of everything. 
There is a garden restaurant, and the Institute has music and movie productions throughout the week.
The food is simple, if a bit overpriced for Dakar and the wine is tasty.
There are cushy benches throughout the restaurant, which is nice, and everything is quite colorful. It almost had a Caribbean vibe.
Beef Carpaccio
Fried eggplant
Delicious red wine – a Bordeaux. Yes, it was hot. Yes, I ordered red wine. It was great. 
And of course, our lovely waiter had the entire restaurant sing “Happy Birthday” to me in French. 
Overall, I had a spectacular birthday weekend, and I am happy to share those memories with all of you!

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