Day 23… Monday 24th April
Tasks to do today:
- Find an ATM that works to get out more local currency. Cash economy here. 4th attempt was a success.
- Find a print shop and get copies of passport, carnet, yellow fever certificate and apply for e-visa for Guinea – success. Guinea visa application approved within 24 hours.
- Visit Ivory coast embassy and get tourist visa. Not successful. Very helpful staff who advised that they had very recently stopped issuing tourist visas from that embassy and we had to go to Conakry in Guinea to apply in person. Luckily this was our back up plan and en-route so not a huge problem.
Walked through the large attractive university campus of Dakar. Security staff waved us through the exit after some slight negotiation. Playing the dumb tourist helped. Decided to extend our hotel stay for an extra night. We were escorted to Greta in the hotel car park every time by the friendly security staff. Perhaps the crime rate in Dakar is a problem or they wanted a tip. It gave me a chance to practise my French on them and they liked to vehicle.
Views on Dakar:
- Air pollution
- Noise and chaos
- Noticeable police presence (riot gear, tanks and motorbikes – all brand new)
- Lack of pavements
- Taxis everywhere beeping for custom.
- Street markets
- Not easy to get around by foot or to navigate by taxi.
- Massive urban sprawl – buildings are in a state of construction or abandoned. Difficult to tell.
An intriguing city, one filled with hope, promise, and prosperity, but also one with a dirty and dark underbelly. Taking taxi rides across this sprawling metropolis are akin to playing roulette, frantically dodging other cars, horses, motorbikes, and people, all the while hoping you’re not going to get screwed… too much.
Thankfully the carnet was a breeze to get stamped, but finding it was like hunting for a needle in a stench ridden haystack. At least once we found the right office the chap was very happy to stamp it for us. He was so relaxed in his job and his posture he was positively about to fall of his chair.
We had a less than positive experience back to the hotel, but thats for another day. Thankfully the hotel had beer and good food, so all ended well.
FYI… the image at the top is off one of the new buildings in the Dakar university campus which looked quite interesting.