Friday, June 10, 2016

Friday; St. Louis, Senegal

We've arrived in a town called St. Louis, the northernmost part of the Senegal coast. It is about 10 miles from the border with Mauritania. This was the old colonial seat of West Africa, first encountered by the Portuguese in the 15th century, then controlled by the French for the following centuries until independence
. We took a tour of a wildlife rehabilitation reserve this morning, then a horse cart tour of the city. Tonight we'll all be dropped off for a few hours to break Ramadan with a local family---likely with academic connections to our seminar hosts.

This place is a bit otherworldly. We are essentially on an island with another one across a brackish waterway outside our hotel----this is where there are scores of large, motorized fishing pirogues, brightly painted. As it is Ramadan, there are prayers broadcast and wafting through the generous breeze seemingly every hour. The smell is what you notice before anything else----fish, fish, and more fish.....punctuated at times by the smell of burning plastic. There is a lot of boat traffic in the morning and afternoon. They unload there catch right in front of the hotel. As in other places in Senegal, there are vendors hawking the standard African souvenir artwork. The town is a UNESCO world heritage sight, preventing any garish construction or remodeling----leading to a rustic 19th century New Orleans vibe. It is architecturally appealing and very walkable.

Photos to follow. Excuse my brevity; I've got a little cold and some minor tummy issues, but nothing that will keep me off track for any time.

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