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Spring Break: À L’aise quoi

By lrich522

This past week was spring break, so my friends and I decided to plan a short trip not too far from Dakar. There were students in our program who traveled everywhere from Morocco to the Gambia to Italy to Spain. We had decided to stay in Senegal both for financial reasons and because there are so many places within Senegal that we want to see before leaving, and this break seemed like a good opportunity to do so.

One of my host brother’s friends has a friend with a house in Saly, a town along the Petite Côte, which he said we could rent for the weekend. So my three American friends along with a couple of our Senegalese friends and I were able to spend the first weekend of break there. It was extremely beautiful and definitely a tourist trap, but we had a great time hanging out, swimming, and going to the beach. We tried cooking some American food for our friends (I’m pretty sure our cooking french toast one morning then tacos with gauc that night doesn’t necessarily constitute a good representation of typical American food but we tried) and they roasted an entire chicken.

After they left, the four of us Americans moved on to a different house in Saly that our friend from Dakar let us use. I definitely felt like more of a tourist after our Senegalese friends left, and we ended up going to the beach everyday during the week (one of which was named Obama beach). On Wednesday, we went to a beach in a nearby town, where it was necessary to take a pirogue across a lagoon to get to the actual public beach area.

Our boat ride was free and we were welcomed with open arms because we happened to know a guy whose brother knows the guy who owns the restaurant over there (I’m realizing how valuable these types of connections are here). It was over 100 degrees that day, so our time there mainly consisted of us trying to stay cool in the intense heat.

We came back to Dakar on Friday, and I was so so happy to be back with my family. It’s surprising how what was once a new and intimidating city now feels a bit more like home after having had the opportunity to leave then return a few times. The rest of this weekend has been pretty chill: we made crepes with my host niece, my friends cut my hair on my roof, and today I was even able to attend a Senegalese wedding with my friend, Leta. I hadn’t realized how touristy that part of Senegal would be, but despite this I still enjoyed spending time with friends, practicing Wolof, exchanging stories, and relaxing. À l’aise.