Senegal Travel Diary #1 – Live In Ouakam, Dakar

Ouakam (wah-com) is an awesomely interesting neighborhood in Dakar, Senegal. There are a bunch of sights within a short distance but the area is very local with not a lot of tourists or expats.

These Africa travel diaries are a way for us to show you what it’s really like here. Unedited, unfiltered and sharing the interesting in-between bits when we come across them.

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Today you’ll see a guy carrying a very loud goat, the crazy street I have to walk down, Senegalese construction methods, fancy painted local minivans (car rapides), horse carts, traffic to-do’s, a pouring of Touba coffee and more.

It’s a bit dusty and I desperately need a shower, but travel in Africa is sometimes like that. It’s not always polished and shiny, but it is interesting and there’s tons to discover. That’s what makes it fun.

In future Live broadcasts, we hope to come to you from some of the cool sights, when we can. We’ll still be putting out polished videos of special places, but if you want to see the ins and outs and ups and downs of travel in West Africa, subscribe AND click the notification bell so you can catch these live broadcasts (or the recording) – even if they go out at 2am where you are.

See you next time!

Video Transcript

(I’m in Dakar), Senegal and I’m coming to you with a sort of interesting situation because our AirBnB has been without water for a couple days.

They’re prepared for things like that, so we’ve had jugs of water and that sort of thing but I feel like I’m in desperate need of a shower. But I also need to go get us lunch. So now that the water is back on I still have something else to do.

And I notice we’re a little faded out here and I hope you’re getting a good transmission, but I wanted to do our first travel diary. we tried one the other night had technical problems with the double mic and so I just, I’m going to show you the neighborhood as I walk, but I’m also going to tell you what we’ve been up to because we’ve been here for almost three weeks.

I’m still learning French. I don’t know if you hear the gentleman in the background he’s talking on the phone in either French or Wolof, which is the other, the local language which is a local language around here. We’ve been here actually about three weeks now and we’ve had a chance to get to know the town a little. We started out in another neighborhood and that was only for a week and then we moved over to this one when we decided we were going to stay in Dakar for a little while.

So I’m going to flip the camera a little and I’m going to try and be subtle and not get too many people undesiringly on the thing.

Our our AirBnB scared us at first. I’m going to be honest with you. We pulled in and it’s like oh it can’t be here, can it? And the construction is actually tamped down a little bit right now, but we’re on this steep hill and there’s all this construction and all of that down there to get down to the main road. Which I’m gonna walk right now.

And you know with Tim not being able to see very well at all we were really concerned about this, but the inside of the place has good rails and stairs.
We’re doing two flights to go up to breakfast every morning and so it’s getting him some good exercise. As I say it has good railings it’s good inside but out here is a little treacherous.

We came out last night to take a taxi ride so we could get night footage of the African Renaissance Monument and the lighthouse, the Phare des Mamelles, and the footage came out great. It was absolutely fantastic. But getting him in and out of the cab in the dark was a little treacherous. So I don’t know we might, even though he has a really good headlight on his cane, we might have to bring some extras.

Okay, so now we’re getting a little tricky because if I stay on that path, even though it’s smooth, I don’t have as good traction, and it’s steeper. That’s the thing getting down this is, and I’m not, I will say I’m a lousy climber. I’m lousy at anything that needs like mountain goat like skills. I’ve gotten fairly used to this but I never feel sure-footed.

So this is the main street down here.

Ouakam is an interesting town. The first couple of times I took a long way around. There’s goats going on, sometimes they’re down the street, sometimes they are on the second floor in the unfinished building across from your hotel or your airbnb. Which was the case this morning. I looked and I saw the the goats down there across and they were on the second floor.

And then…whoa, they’re using a pulley system to to rig things up to the top up there. See? He’s hoisting that up. There we go placing stuff up. so uh

So you know and then all the buses around here, we’ll try and get a good shot. I heard a goat somewhere it might be behind something or inside somewhere. But the the local buses are all very, you have cool paint jobs.

So that’s my walk down to the main street. As I say, it was actually rougher before.

I’m going to take a turn to the right here and we’re just going to get lunch. I may not keep you guys through lunch but we’ve been doing the sights. We didn’t delay this time.

We have been, I’ve been to the Mosque of the Divinity. Tim will be going there too, soon with me and we got footage.

Stealing the show. Yes, that guy was just carrying a goat.

We’re going through all the things. This is a good day to be on this street. I can tell that. So sorry. I’m losing track here as I’m trying to do more than one thing at a time here.

But we’ve been to the Mosque of the Divinity on the beach, or I have. We’ve been to the African Renaissance Monument, both daytime and nighttime. Might go back to get some more footage. Then we’ve been to the Phare des Mamelles.

And what’s really cool is this neighborhood of Ouakam is really, this neighborhood of Ouakam. I’m going to flip the camera so I don’t grab too much attention here. This neighborhood of Ouakam has all three of those things are right in this neighborhood. I mean they’re just five, six, seven minutes away by car.

I’m broadcasting on YouTube. Yeah, YouTube.

One thing, you know can’t always tell. Honestly, no one’s been really big on hanger on. A little bit occasionally, someone wants to be a guide, or you’re regular driver or regular delivery person, but no one’s been really heavy duty on the hang around.

You know what, I go to these guys a lot for coffee. I’m gonna see if they’ll mind me taking photos. Let me see if I can get them to let take me photos.

Do you mind if I take? I’ll buy a coffee. If I buy a coffee can I take photos?

Yeah, I’ll buy it. I’ll buy coffee.

Can I get one cafe.

I don’t know if it has cinnamon or chicory or cloves but i just wanted to share that with you. Merci.

Okay, we’re getting close to some lunch area and all that, but I figured since I bought from there before they would let me photograph with no problem.

It is a Friday and I don’t know if that’s the reason for some of this increased activity. Senegal is a mostly Muslim country. It’s like 90-95% muslim, something like that.

I’m going to walk on this side for a minute even though I intend to cross the street.

But it is a mostly Muslim country and so Fridays are the big holy day, even though some places still do close on Sundays and there is a certain Catholic, Christian minority.

But as you can see, horse-drawn carts are still a thing. Not a tourist thing. They’re used for hauling all the time. You’ll just hear them going down the street any time of day.

Let me get out of the way here, hold on.

We’re getting a little chaotic. I’m going to turn the camera around again.

Okay so this is an example of what it’s kind of like in Africa in general, but of course we’ve only been mostly to West Africa. I’ve been a little to East Africa, and been to Egypt.

But Africa travel is different. Not everything goes smoothly and perfectly all the time, but it’s actually really cool and really friendly and very safe. To be really honest with you, you’ve got to be smart but I have no fears walking around here. I’ve been doing it on my own this whole time.

So if you’re ever thinking about coming to Africa and you’re worried about safety, don’t let that be your concern. You know generally it’s, it’s generally pretty safe. As safe as anywhere else on the planet, if not safer.

So I’m going to turn the camera around again because there’s something going on in the intersection here. I’m not quite sure if it’s just a jam up or something like that.

I found out this morning though part of the thing with the water in our apartment, or our room, was that they actually work on a cistern and considering the road isn’t even paved the idea that the the homes and places work on a cistern shouldn’t be too much of a surprise.

This is kind of a reality look at the the streets here in Ouakam, Dakar. This is the main section, the busiest part. Sorry if the picture’s been shaky or anything like that. I’ve been doing my best.

So our first, our first diary is interesting. There’s been a lot going on. I hope you’ve been able to hear me with the mic. We’ve got some people goofing around. They know what we’re doing.

As I say, we’ve been going and seeing stuff. We’ve been working it out. We’ve been figuring out the town and I will be bringing you more. I’ll try and bring you more, now that we’ve got some of the technical things worked out, from actual sights when we go see them. They’re going to be on at random times.

I’m going to tell you, I can’t do much of anything on a schedule here. I can’t sit there and say, ‘oh hey the best time to do it is this time of day’, this you know it’s just, nothing’s gonna happen on a set schedule.

It can take me two days to upload the files for one visit to the Mosque, or something like that. You know, five GB and it takes me two days to upload it. So, you know, please be patient with our posting schedule. But that’s why I’m gonna bring up these random live videos every now and again, just to give you a real real real real look at places and to let you see what it’s like.

As I say they’re just going to be interesting bits here and there. This is a really good day to be here because all sorts of stuff is going on. It’s not a quiet day and so yeah, our posting schedule may not be regular but it will be interesting.

I’m going to flip this around. Oh no, no, no. Cancel. Hit the wrong button.

I’m going to flip this around and say cheers. If you come to Dakar, make sure you get, they have a Nescafe thing going on where they do this little whip thing with the Nescafe, and it’s good, but it’s Nescafe.

Then you try the Touba coffee and it is awesome.

We’ll be bringing you so many more things from so many more places but this is the neighborhood we’re staying in for now we’re here for another couple weeks, or a week and a half, and then we’re going to be moving on to elsewhere.

As I say, be prepared to look out for these lives and don’t forget to subscribe. If you want to make sure you catch our stuff when it comes up definitely hit the notification bell, then you’ll get notified even when I post things and it’s two in the morning where you are.

So, okay thanks for joining me. I will see you next time. Live from Dakar, Senegal.

Team Hazard

Old, fat and disabled and traveling the world anyway. Join Trina and Tim as they wander around the planet bringing you honest stories about the people and places they encounter.

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