Couldn’t believe that I would say this but I’m relieved to be in a city. In a small town like Saint-Louise everyone knows each other so after few days you can’t take two steps without having a chat with someone in the street. I got a bit exhausted because it’s impossible to walk anywhere without someone joining you or trying to sell you something. Here in Dakar people are more used to western expats and tourists so we can go around without much disturbances.
On Friday 9th of March we were supposed to share a car to travel from Saint-Louise to Dakar but when the car arrived to get us there were no room for our board bag. Of course they knew that we would have a two meters long bag with us but some how they didn’t think where to place it in the car. In Senegal you can’t place anything on the roof of a normal car unless you want to pay multiple fines on the way. So we had to organise another bigger car with roof racks and pay double price for the private ride (50 000 XOF). After 4-5 hours in the hot car caused by the crazy traffic in the suburbs of Dakar we arrived in the city in the evening.
We are staying in a guesthouse called Chez Sele in the fishermen village Ngor. Our room is on a rooftop of the building and we have a shared terrace with another room which is empty at the moment so we can enjoy long private breakfast sessions in the morning (if the cleaning lady is not around making laundry or using the kitchen). The place is nice and location perfect for us since we are in between the most famous surf spots. The only annoying thing is that the water pressure here is so weak that every time we want to take a good hot shower we have to ask the owner of the house Sele to turn on the pump and in the mornings he seems to be at work. After these days of surfing we have been quite salty and my hair will soon start to be rasta style.
Ngor village is an interesting labyrinth of narrow sandy streets and beaches full of fishing boats, pirogues. The people are still maintaining the traditional way of living by fishing and the community is very strong taking care of everyone.
The first days we were checking around the surf spots and trying to get a whole picture of the scene. There is foamy spots for beginners at beaches of Yoff and Virage in the north of Dakar and more advanced waves next to Ngor island, few popular spots in the neighbourhood of Almadies and one of the most famous one in Ouakam. Board rentals and surf camps are close to the spots and local surfers very friendly and easy to chat with. We already found few interesting characters to present in the project and now it’s time for serious photoshoots on land and in the water. Ah and how good it feels to be in the water after 8 months without surf in Finland! There is no better way to take a break from work than having a moment in the ocean - It totally clears your mind.
The prices in Dakar are higher compered to another cities which is understandable since it is the capital of the country. For the accommodation we pay 8 300 XOF per night, usually it would be 10 000 but we stay for a month so Sele made us a fair deal. Anyway we have found few restaurants for our daily Thiebu Djens for 1500 XOF. The fruits seems to be the same price than in Saint-Louis. We are spending some money for the taxi (1000 XOF one way from Ngor to Almadies with two surfboards) - It is just too hot to walk this few kilometres carrying all the equipment. A cup of coffee or a bottle of water at a beach restaurant is 1500 XOF which is out of our budget, the meal prices I didn’t even bother to check.
Spending long days at the beach doing the research (and of course surfing) we got to know a little bit of the surrounding areas but we still didn’t have time to visit the center of Dakar. When the waves are small and our skin burned from too much sun we will make a good tour in the city.
We still have 3 weeks here and after we will take a boat to Cap Skirring, the beach paradise in the South of Senegal. If we are lucky there is little mellow waves with empty lineups waiting for us! ;) I'll try to make few more stories of life in Dakar before we continue the travel but it really requires strong nerves and zen mood with this internet connection...
Bright and cheerful weekend to you all!
P.S. Unfortunately even we tried our best we didn’t manage to get the Basso Nost€ funding for our book. Thanks for all of you supporting us! We will figure out something else.