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David Swindle’s African Odyssey

Travel DAYS: Sunday, July 2 – Tuesday, July 4

The flight from LA to Dubai went across Greenland and produced memorable views like this one:

The flight on Emirates was among the best I’ve ever had. In addition to tons of new movies, TV shows, and albums, they also had some classics, so I thought it appropriate to rewatch Casablanca given that we’ll be there in a few weeks:

I picked up my first Thomas Pynchon novel on Saturday, Inherent Vice, for the plane rides, primarily because I liked the movie and have been studying the genre (LA Detective mystery ala Raymond Chandler):

Day 4, First Day of Exploring Dakar, Senegal, on Wednesday, July 5:

For our first stop we hit up the most noticeable monument, a controversial $28 million dollar giant statue that’s taller than the Statue of Liberty. Here’s April, excited:

Inside the base of the statue they have a small museum, art galleries, and meeting rooms for ambassadors and foreign dignitaries.

Why so controversial?Three reasons: First, as one of our taxi drivers said when we asked his opinion, the money could have been spent on something more significant that could benefit the people, such as better hospitals. Second, Senegal is a tolerant Sufi Muslim country, but did the female figure’s breast really need to be exposed? And third: it was built by the North Koreans! In spite of these issues, it’s still a moving statue to see.

A beautiful mosque we passed regularly in our travels across town these past few days:

After the statue we visited a museum in Dakar that featured a collection of African masks, fertility totems, and weavings:

DAY 5, A trip to Goree island on Thursday, July 6, to see the slave fort and for April to acquire fabrics:

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April in a slave dungeon…

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April purchased some incredible sand art from a skilled artisan on Goree who had been perfecting his craft for 33 years:

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#sandpainting #goreesenegal

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#sandpainting #goreesenegal

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Day 6, Market Day in Dakar on Friday, July 7, for April to acquire more fabrics:

I have more pics to share and stories to tell but it’s now after midnight and we’re getting up at 6 AM to pack up and prepare for a weekend at a wildlife preserve that’s a five-hour drive away. I’m not sure about internet access there — just sort of assuming that we won’t have it. So don’t be surprised if it’s not until Tuesday or Wednesday for an update…