We arrived here in Saint-Louis around one week ago. Have to say it seems much longer since the days are almost double length compared to Finland. Everything is new and different so we are quite overwhelmed! We are staying in Waaw Artists' Residency to get our project started and get a better knowledge of the county. The Residency is situated in the island of Saint-Louis which is nominated in the heritage list of UNESCO. Saint-Louis has long colonial history which is still visible in the characteristic architecture. The street view is very picturesque and inside the buildings you might find stunning patios hidden from the burning sun.
On thursday 15th of February we flew from Helsinki to Lisbon for 9 hours stop to change flight to Dakar. We were lucky to spend the day with our Finnish friends Mikko and Elvis. Mikko has just arrived from Morocco with his van and Elvis was surfing in Spain for few weeks. We had never been in Portugal with Giovanni so this was a great opportunity to have a little taste of the country. For sure we were not disappointed! Lisbon is amazingly beautiful with it’s historical architecture, decorated tiles and cozy restaurants. Definitely worth of visiting again.
Finally we got to Dakar in 16th of February around 02:00 and after a little hassle at the airport our driver took us to sleep in a guesthouse in the city of Thies. Next morning we started to drive to Saint-Louis, a city in the north of Senegal close to the border of Mauritania. After 4 hours drive through villages with hundreds of fruit & peanut sellers (and only one car breakdown!) we arrived at Chez Marie, a guesthouse in Balakos (suburban neighbourhood in mainland of Saint-Louis). The guesthouse owner Madame Marie is absolutely a great lady and she invited us to stay as we were at home.
So we are sleeping in a guesthouse in the mainland and working in our own studio space in the residency located in the island. It takes around 20mins to walk or 5mins with a taxi which costs 500 XOF (0,75€). In the Waaw Artists' Residency there is also other artists searching for inspiration of this incredibly colourful and contrast culture. It is great to share the experience with the others and exchange ideas. We are very happy to produce our project in an artists' residency. It seems to be perfect way for us to dive into a new cultural environment. Waaw Artist' Residency offers us a lot of support so we can concentrate on the essential work.
After few guided tours and long days exploring the city we are vraiment fatigués but I think these 3 weeks in Saint-Louis will prepare us well for the investigation of surf life in Dakar. Unfortunately it seems like there is no surfers here except one… SO we will make our best to find this guy!
To squeeze this first week in few lines:
AH THE SUN! But also fresh wind. The nights can get quite chilly actually.
Thiebou jen. National dish of Senegal. Fish and veggies with rice. SO GOOD!
French language. Very important to know some.
Trash, plastic, dirt everywhere. It is a shame :(
Mosque prayers are very loud even at 5 o’clock in the morning…
People are very helpful and nice. “Bonjour! Cava Bien?” in every street corner.
Sorry for all the spelling mistakes and the bad quality iPhone photos! We will try to update the blog as much as we can so there is no time for perfection ;)
MORE COMING SOON!