Dakar – 10

Hey,

I haven’t written in a while. I’d like to write more, but I was looking for a decent cybercafe (in another post, i’ll write what ‘decent’ means for cybercafes..) and as you know, it takes me a while to write all of this down.

I’m half asleep (its the afternoon) but I feel like writing millions miles an hour. Earlier this morning, our wolof class was designed to improve our bargaining skills in wolof (you get better prices that way and vendors will better understand you) by a group trip to Marché HLM. It has the Senegalese aura: Open-air stalls (8 x 12 feet maybe) lined up next to each other, mostly selling fabric (for women, to make dresses, Boubous), some cosmetics and hair supplies shops, shoes (again, for women), and kids clothing (made of the same fabrics of boubous; or new, more western-influenced clothing. Being along with 8 ladies (split into groups of 3), for the most part, it’s still the same experience as going shopping (i’ve did plenty of times with with my sisters and their friends) with ladies (and as the only male) in the USA. The different scenery and atmosphere is still novel, so you’re occupied with that.

Moreover, one of my favorite (if not my most) aspects of people-watching is seeing the t-shirts that guys are wearing. Males that don’t wear a button-down shirt (usually civil service/govt office workers), a traditional senegalese boubou-like dress (i’ll get a picture of them eventually), or wear new American-designer clothes (i mentioned this type in an earlier post) because they are doing a job that doesn’t require one (like a vendor) , can’t afford to, or simply don’t want to wear one, wear T-shirts. Most of these are imported from the USA, rejects of thrift stores and are often the ones given out, maybe for free, from a time-sensitive event (a 5K race, a little league team, or a political campaign, like ‘Dennis Hasert for Congress !’) or were issued from schools. My favorite of these are old NBA jerseys (maybe its just me, but I don’t these are as popular In USA now as they were in the mid-late 1990s ). It’s probably just nostalgia (a healthy amount, I counter), but when I see a Reggie Miller (NBA – pacers) or NWO (wrestling) t-shirt, both circa 1996 , I love it. I’ve been looking out for vendors selling NBA jerseys and other t-shirts (I only brought two with me, and I could use a couple more – don’t send me any if you’re reading this in the USA), and haven’t found any places selling them (none at Marche HLM today).

The only thing that I bought at HLM was a pack of honey flavored cookies named Glucose for 100 CFA.

Besides that shopping expedition, I spent yesterday at Îles de la Madeleine or the Madeleine Islands (in english). I’ll get photos up soon, but briefly, it is an island: no residents, no kitschy vendors, nothing but a couple acres of geographic awe thanks to an old volcano. Yes, it was even prettier than Goree Island.

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