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2s, 8s and Queens

Sali-Portugal, Senegal


We are starting to really hate the “Garages” from where the long distance commuters go to and from, we got dropped off and were immediately hassled, for taxis bus and food. We walked straight out of the car park and headed down the main road to put some distance between us and the hustlers. We had written down the directions to the hostel we found on Hostelworld.com and tried two taxis before getting one that would help. The phone number we had written down from the internet seemed to be for a fax machine and the driver needed to speak to several people to help with better directions. It wasn’t and comfort that the taxi we were in had a slow puncture and he needed to stop to get it re-inflated. When we finally arrived and paid, he gave us his contact number and said if we needed going anywhere to give him a call. It was later when we found out that we paid too much for the taxi, but we didn’t mind that much as he helped us and had to use his phone credit to call people.

Walking through the gates to the Auberge Africa Thiossane and waving goodbye to the taxi driver, we saw that it looked rather empty and it was very quite. Opening the door to the house itself and not being able to see a receptionist or desk we called out “Hello” a few times before somebody heard us. We asked if they were open and he said yes of course, showing us to the room which had mosquito nets, bathroom and a balcony with furniture to sit out on. The price was 13,000CFA (₤17.56) and we stayed two nights. On that first day the gardener kindly showed us to the local shops so we could buy water, once we got settled and the sun was a little less hot, it’s noticeably hotter the further near the equator we get, we walked to the beach.

On the way to the beach we saw loads of different coloured lizards, Ben likes the yellow and navy blue ones. Walking along the beach to find a good spot to sit and people watched for a moment, it appeared that the only thing to do in Saly Portudal is run on the beach - we must have seen hundreds of runners some even running backwards in the heat! It was so hot we were sweating just watching them. As always no peace and it wasn’t long before we were approached by two guys, one saying he makes hats like Bens for a living and the saying that they lived a little further up the coast and invited us to join them in the evening for lobster and music. We explained that we were vegetarians so there was no need for lobster, but we might pop over for the music depending on how tired we were.

On getting back to the hostel we needed a cool drink so we sat at the bar onsite and started talking with Zorro, the main guy in charge. We took our drinks and sat down, played a few hands of cards before Zorro and the Gardener joined us and played. We taught them the 2’s, 8’s, and Queens (Beat Your Neighbour) game and they became addicted to it; it was getting late at this point so we excused ourselves and asked if we could use the kitchen to cook. Zorro said no problem and he even let us use their big bottle of gas to cook on in the kitchen area which was crawling with cockroaches and bugs of all sizes. We didn’t take our time and it wasn’t a banquet, we had Chinese noodles with miso soup and dried mushrooms that we had been brought with us all the way from the UK; Zorro tried some and didn’t seem too impressed, perhaps because of the date of the mushrooms or just not used to Chinese noodle soup. After dinner we went back downstairs but Kat being paranoid of being bitten by mosquitoes put her jeans and shirt on, pulling her collar up and doing all the buttons up so she looked ridiculous, but it proved a point as later in the evening whilst playing cards again a giant cockroach over an inch long (no we are not over exaggerating) flew straight into Kats face, bouncing off and landing on her shirt before being swiped off by Kats flailing arms. Kat still to this day thinks if she didn’t look such a knob that night it would have landed down her top and it would have been Bens fault for sure.

The second day we walked to the shops for some food to cook that night, we stayed in the hostel most of the day reading and Kat doing some urgent sewing repairs to clothes. We chilling out when we were interrupted with a knock on the door and it was Zorro asking if everything was ok, he noticed that the bathroom door handle was broken and he said he would fix it. He spent nearly 2 hours trying to fix it and it still came off in Kat’s hand after she went to the loo and nearly locked herself in the toilet. The whole knocking on the door thing happens a lot in Africa, which becomes really annoying as it means there’s little chance to relax completely before you have to get up and answer the door.

This evening after cooking spaghetti with tomatoes and sweetcorn in cockroach central, we went down to the bar and continued to play cards with Zorro where they allowed us to play our Ipod over the bar tannoy system. Ben ordered a beer which Zorro helped himself to a glass out of the bottle, thinking it was rude then thought that the drink was on the house. We retired to bed to pack as we had an early start in the morning because we wanted to walk to Mbour town before the sun got too hot. Whilst we were packing there was a knock at the door with Zorro wanting to take our photo. Disappearing we continued what we were doing when a few minutes later, there was another knock on the door, it was Zorro again asking for payment for the ‘free’ beer and a further 200cfa from a previous tab. We paid up and hoping he wouldn’t knock again, we went to sleep.

Waking up at 5.30am and snoozing till 6am we finally left half an hour later to begin out walk to Mbour. Just around the corner from the hostel we were approached by a man saying he was the gardener at the Auberge and needed 1000cfa for a hospital bill; we explained to him we already met the gardener of the hostel and had heard of the scams going around involving hospital bills and prescriptions so were unable to help him. He then asked for 500cfa for a taxi to get to Mbour hospital, which we said there was a hospital in walking distance around the corner and we were walking to Mbour to meet friends because we didn’t have any money. He even offered to pay for us to get on the horse and trap to Mbour to get money of our friends. We gave him some water (which he didn’t say thank you for) and eventually stopped following us and got on a donkey and trap. We found out the reason why he stopped following us when we asked a man for directions and it turned out we were going in the wrong direction. We can’t believe the bastard didn’t tell us we were going to wrong way!

We started walking…


permalink written by  Kat and Ben on July 15, 2009 from Sali-Portugal, Senegal
from the travel blog: Kat & Ben's World Adventure
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