Yesterday we enjoyed wildlife, baobabs and beaches in Senegal. It’s time to move on to the long-awaited chill and relax time and the time to enjoy the beauty of arts.
Today we’re allowed to sleep late, because we have only one stop in the program, Popenguine. The village ashore attracts religious pilgrims (once a year – a million of worshipers), lovers of peace and clean beaches and beautiful scenery, and of course, the President, who has a small mansion there. For the first time we enjoy the wide beach with a negligible amount of garbage. Construction has not yet uglified the shore, working on this issue so far seems promising though. The beach still feels deserted, in the distance there is a cliff which offers some great bird sightings.
Driving on dirt roads to the nearby village of Toubab Diallao, we talk about the origin of the name of this village. It means something like ‘a mountain of white people’, or rather the white rounded tops of the traditional houses. We pass dozens of students going home for lunch. What a variety of uniforms! Suddenly we find ourselves in an open air museum of local architecture and art. And we will spend the night in this museum! Stones and embedded tiles remind us of the style of famous artists of the last century. A village is outspoken center of musicians, painters, sculptors, artists from Senegal and abroad who come to gather with like-minded people and create art. The night is preceded by pounding drums, it is like that every night in here.
The art of fishing
We are sitting on a high terrace over the ocean and small beaches. Below us children fish with all sorts of techniques – diving from rocks, placing bait attached to the cord of their pants, sailing a small dinghy into the sea. All methods work. Right next to us a little boy uses a cord attached to his pants to fish alone. He throws and pulls unsuccessfully, then he finally manages to score a catch. Great fun! He puts the catch in the shade under a rock and returns to fishing. A few hours later, a clever cat robs forgotten fresh fish on the beach.
The art of shopping
It is getting dark, and we follow the drum music to a small market. Bargaining with interpreters becomes very important. Not that we really need them, but the first rule of bargaining reads: “Have fun”. The more people are having fun, the better. Eventually we got a beautiful African batik. And we gave a lecture on how we do not pick the money from the trees so we require proper respect. It’s a fact: money does not grow on trees either in Europe or in Africa. Anyone to object?
In our last night in Senegal, mosquitoes do not fail to say goodbye to us with a few bites. We decided to do a quite frivolous experiment with all the local food we haven’t tried before.