Saturday, December 23, 2006

Things I like about Dakar:

The weather at this time of year is perfect: warm and cloudless during the day, cooling down pleasantly in the evenings; great food: I’m addicted to the Lebanese charwarma – thin pitta bread filled with lamb, tomatoes, onion, flat parsley, tahini, spicy mustard, and a few small fried potatoes, all of which I wash down with fresh-squeezed orange juice; French bakeries with crusty brown bread and yummy pastries; the men and women walking the streets with fabulously flowing damask robes in spotless glowing whites, purples, emeralds, pinks, atop stiletto heels or pointy flat slippers on the men; even though the streets are full of noise, traffic, bustle, and hustlers everywhere, a quiet spot from which to gaze at the surprisingly calm Atlantic is never more than a ten minutes’ walk in any of three directions; two really good book shops; all the different types of people to be found here: Africans from different countries; north Africans; Mediterraneans (mostly of Lebanese descent); Europeans – which allows me to walk around without hassle as long as I make an effort not to look like a tourist; friendly people – especially the Lebanese business owners and the ticket clerk at the museum; the sound of the call to prayer from the mosques (and the fact that it’s not too loud so I can sleep through the early morning call); and back again to food – fast food places where the food is both fast and very tasty, and plenty of places where I can get good prepared food to take back to my room thus avoiding eating alone in expensive restaurants. I expect I’ve forgotten a few things, but you can add some more if you’ve ever been here!

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