Friday, December 22, 2006

Reporting from Dakar, Senegal

I'm here in disguise. After a pleasant session at a salon de coiffure owned by a local Lebanese brother and sister couple, my hair is a shade darker than the original version, and I now pass for a local as I walk around the streets of Dakar. This is a great help, as I don't get hassled by the hundreds - if not thousands - of young men on the streets selling everything from sunglasses to synthetic miniature Christmas trees.

I didn't think that anywhere in Africa could be poorer than eastern Congo, and maybe Senegal isn't actually any poorer; but the street children I've seen here are younger than anywhere else I've ever seen, and the number of people who appear to be living on the street is not only far higher but of a far greater age range than anywhere else I've been. It's possible that all the people I see sitting on the street aren't actually living on the street...but I don't see any other immediate explanation for their presence.

On the other hand, Dakar has a great deal going for it, if you have some money to enjoy what is on offer. There are real shops, selling quality goods, a large supermarket with shelves of delicious, and pricey, imported French cheeses and a myriad of other delicacies; a superb French bakery full of dark chocolate gateaux and almond croissants and crusty baguettes; two excellent bookshops; hotels by the ocean...

1 comment:

Paradise Driver said...

Mele Kalikimaka a me Hau'oli Makahiki Hou from your friend on Mau'i.