It's hard to believe another month has already gone by! We are already leaving for Buenos Aires this weekend! Our final week in Dakar was a busy one, finishing up our country case studies and completing some clarifying interviews and observations for our semester-long research projects. Needless to say, I am very happy to be spending spring break in Saly, Senegal, a dusty and bustling beach town about 2 hours south of Dakar. We've had a very relaxing two days full of the perfect balance between adventure and down-time.
Even getting here was quite an experience. As students on a budget, we decided to rent the most affordable type of vehicle, the Senegalese car rapide. Resembling a massive psychedelic soda can on 4 wheels, the car rapide is the most convenient and cheapest way to get around Senegal. The ride was a bit bumpy and more than a bit dusty, but we made it to the beach without too much incident and a lot of laughs as we were tossed around in the bumpy backseat.
We've decided to spend the week at a low-key (read: inexpensive) hostel outside of town called Boabob Belge. Its run by a bubbly Belgian woman who bears the easy, airy personality of an expat who's found her niche abroad. She sings in a Senegalese drumming group in her spare time, and giggles about her various stories over the years. She has been very helpful in getting us situated.
Yesterday, we left to pick up some beach clothes, but found that all of the touristy stores were far too expensive for our student budgets. Our lovely hostel hostess sent us to the next town over to the local market to pick out our own fabrics to have tailored instead. We traveled via horse and buggy to save a couple of pennies. The whole process was definitely a bit dustier and sweatier than a taxi would have been, but I'm pretty sure we had more fun that way.
The lesson from the past couple of days has been to accept the challenge of traveling on a budget. It forces you to go off the beaten (and more comfortable) path, but definitely leaves more room for adventure and serendipity, which is what travel abroad is all about.