August 16, 2007

I am back from Dakar! Since my last posting was almost a week ago some of you may be wondering about the lapse. It did not take me all of this time to travel from Senegal to Boston, but it did take me several days to recover from the journey (more on that later). My last two days in Dakar were busy ones. I spent the time having conversations, visiting friends, eating mangos, visitng markets for gifts or kola or cafe touba, having conversations, eating with the family, getting goat skins for drums, having conversations, squeezing onto car rapides and ndiagne ndiayes, bargaining fares with taxi drivers, trying to remember what I’d forgotten, enjoying dibi and a final Gazelle, having conversations, and packing. And since one of the two days was a Sunday – and Sundays in Dakar are quiet and slow-moving with many of the shops and businesses closed – it was a very busy final weekend. My apologies to all who I did not get to visit with on this short trip to Dakar. I will make sure I see you on the next visit.

I will be writing more about the Gewel Tradition from my keyboard here in Boston. But before I sign off today, I have to say something about air travel to Africa from the States. You can fly a direct route, which is relatively quick and not too exhausting; however it is also usually quite expensive. If you find a more reasonable fare you end up going through Europe where you have to deal with differential and constantly changing regulations, stops in various countries along the way (some announced, others not), long layovers and delayed take-offs, and unattentive and negligent service aboard the flight. During the layovers and while sitting on hot planes waiting to take-off, I had the opportunity to talk to a good number of fellow travelers. What emerged from these conversations was a picture of consistently poor air service being provided between Europe and the African continent. It did not matter what airline, what time of year or what the country of final destination was, most travelers I spoke with had similar experiences with the range of poor service mentioned above. I wonder why this is the case. . . . .

Now that I have gotten that out, I will see you soon with more information on the Gewel Tradition, InchAlla.

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