Africa Again

I am now in Dakar, the capital of Senegal, in west africa. We arrived here last a week ago and have had fun exploring and settling in. Elodie is working with the Institute Pasteur on a hepatitis B research program (involving the correlation of results for vibroscans and liver biopisis in black people). Her employers have provided a fantastic apartment, three levels up, looking out at the sea, located on the south western tip of the Dakar peninsula, about 20mins walk from the centre of town.

It’s been hard to get a clear impression of Dakar, but few thoughts that have hit me are the busy broken up streets and the very nice temperature range. Cars and buses fly up and down the roads, people parked up everywhere on the footpaths, black and yellow taxis drive past tooting at you every minute, there are broken pavements and potholes. It certainly has the African flavor when it comes to public service maintenance. However the weather is very mild, getting up to maybe 25 during the day and dropping down to 18 perhaps at night. No rain, though it is windy, nothing between us and the Atlantic. Its winter here and it will slowly get warmer until we leave in May.

I am here trying to learn some French, and have had my first few lessons at the French Institute. However it is confusing listening to the locals, as some speak French and some speak the local language of Waloof, and accorded to Elodie many speak both at the same time. I am finding French comprehension very difficult but we’ll see how it goes after a few weeks.

I’ve been thinking of things to do with my time off. There are two islands off the coast that I have been scheming on visiting by kayak if I can just get hold of one from one of the flash hotels, some great diving reported off the coast further north for when I’m feeling rich, some waves coming into the beaches that could be fun if I can get a board and figure out the rips and tides, and maybe there’ll some sight seeing trips further afield when the novelty of the city wears off.


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