To stir the excitement! Friday is the last day of classes, and then this weekend, we’re going to the desert to spend the night. I think the desert trip is on Saturday. We’ll come back to Saint-Louis on Sunday. Then, I’m planning on the usual beach trip on Sunday, spend the night at a hotel in town (because technically the homestay ends on Saturday) and then head down to Dakar on Monday. I’m really excited about getting to Dakar. I have the week planned out. I’m planning my sight-seeing/activities based on location. BUT, there is super exciting news. I actually almost screamed last night when I found this out.
But, just a little north of Dakar, there is a place called Village des Tortues, for people who already speak French, you know why I’m excited. For those who don’t. Tortues means turtles. YES! TURTLES! I am so excited. First off, let me explain. I LOVE TURTLES. I think they are the coolest frickin’ animal. I have a turtle at home, his name is Jaws, and I miss him a bunch. No, seriously, I do. I actually think about him more than I admit.
Anyway, more about this village. I’m just going to copy, verbatim from my book:
“On the route de Bayakh, just north of the village of Sangalkam, is the fascinating Village des Tortues. This ‘village’ is a sanctuary for more than 400 injured and neglected turtles. There are several species of land and seas turtles, but the main attractions are the giant African spurred tortoises (geochelone sulcata). This is the largest continental tortoise on earth, and the neatly kept reserve has got scores of them, ranging formt he newly hatched ones to a 92 kg giant. (Lonely Plant: The Gambia&Senegal 4 Ed, 2009, pp 180)”
I am so excited. I’m planning on spending all of Thursday there. This would be Feb 4, not this Thursday. I’m also going to bring extra sim cards, and so many batteries to make sure my camera doesn’t die. I am so excited about this. Honestly, this is probably going to be the highlight of my entire month.
Oh, of course, I’m going to go see other things: the giant lighthouse, a couple of big old mosques, the market, place d’independence, museums and art galleries, the beach, Ile de Goree (an island just of the coast, and key location during the colonial period) and possibly go scuba diving (depending on how expensive it is). I’m planning on exploring the entire area of Dakar, and if I have extra time, and enough funds, then I’m going to head to Lac Rose and check that out (a lake of some significance or importance or it’s just pretty, that I can’t seem to find in my guide book right now).
So, that is my plan for next week in Dakar, and then I leave early Monday morning (Feb 8), and get into MSP later that afternoon. The next two weeks are probably going to go by very quickly.