20,000 leagues under the sky, 2004- travel blog

Senegal taxi

St Louis

The good bridge


Allez Senegal

St Louis

St Louis

St Louis

Oh, how cruel life can be, yesterday I was dreaming of beer in Senegal after 12 dry days, this morning I woke up with the shits. How I survived the 7 hour trip here with clean underwear I have no idea. Went for a meal and a beer on arrival and couldn't eat, even the smell of food made me feel sick, lovely, big, cold beer went straight to my head and I had to go and sleep all afternoon. I blame Allah.

I quickly recovered, I think it was slight sunstroke after sitting out in the Sahara all day the day before, and managed to enjoy some prober beer drinking by the 2nd night. St Louis was obviously once a very scenic city, it was the first colonial city in Africa as the place where the French first arrived, now the place is crumbling apart and many pretty facades are backed by the ruin of the former building. Jan had seen the town when I went to bed on the first afternoon and told me it took less than an hour to see, he was right. The main point of interest on the trip down here was going through the infamous border at Rosso which is renouned throughout West Africa for itºs money grabbing corrupt officials. The border closes for 3 hours in the afternoon between midday and 3, we arrived at 12:30. LP mentions taking a taxi to another border point half an hour away, no real road and no taxis exist on this route, the best offer we got was €100 for a private hire. At the border town hordes of kids and adults descended on us to "help" but once inside the border area they were filtered down to half a dozen. The officials took delight in telling us that they were closed until 3 but made it clear that they would open for a fee. We refused and let them know that we were prepared to wait, our patience was stronger than theirs and half an hour later they stamped our passports and we got away with an out of hours fee of only 1000 Oguyu.

As we were aproaching the Senegal river the Sahara was perceptably giving way and greenery apeearing. On crossing the river into Senegal it was suddenly the tropics with trees, shrubs, flowers and cultivated fields. By contrast the Senegalese border offical (only one lone guy) was polite and efficient and no fee was asked for.

We haggled a taxi down to 15000CFA and headed off the 90km to St Louis. The taxi had to have been the oldest Merc Iºve ever travelled in, possibly the oldest still in active service, however it struggled to get up to 60kmh and had the heating up full to keep the enging going - not pleasant when itºs already mid 30s outside.

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