Thursday, February 4, 2010

Dakar: Day 2 - Nothing exciting, just an addendum

Originally, I was planning on going to the turtle village today, but it's the 4th of February. Which means that tomorrow is the 5th of February, which means that the application for Green Corps is due. I just decided last week to apply, when I got the reminder e-mail. I figure that it can't hurt, and it would be a great opportunity to do some student organizing, which I do have experience in. So I decided to stay in my room, and crunch out this application, get it done, and then maybe go to the two breast-like mountains to snap some photos, grab dinner, and come back. That's if I finish it in a reasonable time. SO, I'm planning on going to the Turtle Village tomorrow. If I do nothing else with my week, I must get to that place. Apparently, they even have sea turtles. That's what the book said. I've never seen a sea turtle. I absolutely have to go to this place, I am so excited. I'll be completely disappointed in myself if I drop the ball on this.

However, I do have a story. I completely forgot to include this in the blog yesterday, because I told Sam via skype. After I told someone, I kind of forgot that I had wanted to include it in my blog.

So, not to brag or anything (only a little bit), I have a pretty solid sense of direction. There was only once in Cairo when I got turned around, but that was because all the streets in the neighborhood we were in intersected at skewed angles, and for some reason, I was still in the mentality of a grid. But that was only once. So, when I got in the taxi yesterday, after my Nescafé and croissant, I told him Place d'Indépendence. He tried to jerk me around for 3500, but I got him down to 2000 for the ride. So, I get dropped off. Last week, I planned out a series of day trips for myself, and this was the Central Dakar excursion. All I had was the map and highlighted numbers with one-sentence descriptions of each place. But when I was dropped off, I had absolutely no sense of direction, I didn't know where the ocean was, where the port was, where the rest of the country was, etc. I had no idea if I was holding my map upside down, sideways or backwards. So, I went and found a place to sit down away from other people who wouldn't pester me trying to get money or sell stuff, and thought.

This might sound silly, but it actually worked. It was about 10 AM, so I thought, "Well, it's before noon, so ideally, the sun should still be in the East. We're pretty close to the equator, so that's not too farfetched." I looked for the sun and found it. So then I said, "Okay, if I put the sun on my right, that means my left is west, and ahead of me is north." Then, I oriented the map in my book so I was looking at it correctly and found the street I wanted on the map. I didn't see any street signs, which made it difficult, so I looked around until I got my bearings, and found what I thought would be the street that my first stop would be.

Then this woman came up to me and tries to sell me jewelery, but I told her that I already bought some necklaces. She tells me that she needs money to go to Touba for the big holiday. I told her that I had friends in Touba (which I do - some of the people I met in Saint-Louis went to Touba for the festival). And then I find out that she is from Saint-Louis so we talk for a few minutes. Then I ask her, for confirmation, if the road that I had determined was Av Hassan II was indeed that road. She said yes.

Point for Monica! I will never get lost! Needless to say, my sense of direction continues to be very solid.

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