Tuesday, May 2, 2017

President's Public Holiday

Whilst I spent a comfortable night sleeping in Franki, Christophe decided he wanted to use his hammock.  We both had a good night's sleep after the trials of getting over the border.  Zebrabar had good clean shower facilities but with cold water, the outside temperature wasn't all at warm at 0630 it made for a very chilly shower!

Coffee made and drunk, we were ready to depart.  Christophe got behind the wheel but Franki had managed to get her front tyres in some deep sand, probably due to parking in the dark!  Oleg the Russian biker, a Czech overlander and some others came to our rescue and pushed her out of the sand, we were off.  Aiming to be in Dakar as quickly as possible so that I could apply for a Malian visa hopefully in the same day.   Sadly Christophe had decided that we wouldn't make Bamako in time, he needed to return to France for his business in the early New Year and started looking for flights from Dakar to Marseille.

Just a quick coffee to start the day off at Zebrabar, then en route for Dakar if we can get out of the sand!
Zebrabar's restaurant and bar area
And we're off, Dakar bound!
We rejoined the main road a few kilometres from Mouit, a good surfaced road that was reasonably fast apart from the sleeping policemen on the edge of towns.  After an hour we stopped again to have another coffee from a roadside table.  The traffic was heavy the whole way to Dakar until we got on the new autoroute.  We were shocked by the price of the tolls on the autoroute of which there were many, every few kilometres!
Duck transport!
Senegal's expensive new autoroute for the new airport
Finally we got into central Dakar, 243km later, I messed up on directing Christophe to Fann, a suburb on the Corniche where the Malian Embassy was located, we got off the autoroute too far into town.  We ended up in Plateau, the CBD and had to get out of some crazy traffic to join the Corniche and head up the other side of the peninsula, it was lunchtime so the Embassy would be closed.  Ending up in Mamelles another suburb, where I knew of a few places for lunch, we found a Lebanese restaurant with a very friendly Lebanese owner who changed money for us.  Unfortunately he was also the bearer of bad news, today, 26th December 2016 was a public holiday!  The President had decreed the night before that it should be a holiday as the Christians in Senegal didn't get a holiday for Christmas as it fell on a Sunday.  We were NOT impressed with this.  Finishing lunch we decided to return to Fann and the Embassy to see if they were closed; they were!  Our only option was to chill out for the rest of the day and unfortunately find accomodation for the night, it gave me a chance to show Christophe some of the sights of Dakar too.  Over the last 12 years or so that I've known the city, each time I return it has grown, been modernised and upgraded it's roads, not to mention the outrageously expensive statue that sits on a hill near Ouakam.

I decided that we should go and try ViaVia Auberge in Yoff, somewhere I had stayed before several years ago on my return from Guinea Conakry.  Christophe went in to see if they had room, luckily they did, we could also park Franki down a side street.  This meant taking the bikes and wheelchair off the roof and finding room in Franki to store them or they would vanish overnight despite a sturdy chain and padlock.  Christophe was amazing at reorganising the little space we had in the back and we got it all in.  Our work for the day now over, we decided to head down to the beach and chill out at a little bar.  On our way back to ViaVia we found some wonderful street food and sat enjoying the meal watching the world and his wife wander past us, before heading back to the auberge to sleep.
Yoff, Dakar
ViaVia Auberge, Yoff
Beach at Yoff

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