Saturday, December 7, 2019


Breaking up is hard to do #2

As far as it goes...
I'm really not patient. Friends, acquaintances and others will attest to this, with a range of views on its effects. It got me through two careers - in payment-by-results sales and as a freelancing tutor. And it's why I now have a decent pension. It's also why this trip came about in the first place. But it has its downsides.

When I am able to affect my situation, it ensures that things get done. And quickly. But when control is out of my hands, I become stressed, irritable and tetchy.

Since we arrived in Senegal we've had a series of important and difficult overlapping decisions to make and problems to solve. The issues included our security, our destination, our mode of travel.

Being watered: bike delivery to Dakar
The single most difficult question has been what to do with the bike.

The following have all been investigated: collection by pick-up at the border with Mauritania; flying it home by any one of several organisations; transit by sea on the cargo vessel we might sail on; booking it myself onto a different freighter; using one of a number of companies to organise a door to door management of the process.

Dakar is a notoriously difficult place to do business and for three weeks I've been getting nowhere. It's taken the edge off my enjoyment of Senegal - and probably had the same effect on The Pillion's experience of being with her erstwhile Pilot.

Yesterday, however, acting on a suggestion from Angelika's son, Dom, we delivered The Camel to the Dakar agent who will put it on a boat to the UK - we fervently trust.

It was with a powerful mixture of emotions that I rode into the city to part company with the machine I bought for this trip and on which I expected us to triumphantly return home. We have made the right (but expensive) choice, though.

It is only a machine of course. But I kissed it goodbye.

This is the end my friend...
From our room
Sex in Saly
We have been staying in a slightly odd place. It's a sort of not-quite-posh aparthotel complex, complete with pools and beach and slightly over-friendly staff. It caters for French tourists of a certain age and, I think, Senegalese business people doing business.

There's no doubt that the younger, attractive locals are part of the offer. This manifests itself at least as often in terms of older female tourists accompanied by much younger, tall, slender, handsome men as in older men with local women. But age disparity is a constant.

We've read of other, more sinister, forms of sex-tourism here. Last night in our popular restaurant, a man, late 50's, entered with a young, prettified girl of about eight or nine. Neither looked like a local. They hardly interacted for their whole time there. She occupied herself with a smartphone. He looked empty. When the hostess went to greet them and leaned to give her a hug and kiss on the cheek the little girl just didn't know how to respond. She seemed uneasy and awkward. It made me feel very uncomfortable. Of course I don't know their story. But it made me feel very uncomfortable.

Not waving
It's interesting to me that in this blog, as in other interfaces between people, so much filtering takes place, so much elision. How much honesty is too much, I wonder?

See Stevie Smith on this in her famous poem.

No longer 'travellers'
Tomorrow, we're going away with a private driver/guide for three days. We're proper tourists now!

We'll visit an area of mangroves, sail in a pirogue and hope to see manatee, hyena and various other wildlife. We're both really looking forward to it; no decisions, no responsibility.

The relaxation starts here!

Now for Man City v Man Utd. Go Reds!

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