I just got back from arguably one of the best trips of my entire life. I spent a week in Senegal’s capital city, Dakar, with the Black is Global crew. Everyone in Dakar speaks French so luckily we had a great guide and two people on the team who were fluent. Dakar is a beautiful city with gorgeous beaches, great weather and some of the nicest people I’ve ever met on any trip to Africa. There are not enough words to describe how great this trip was but I’ve created my first of many “L10′s Top Ten” to walk you through my favorite pictures, experiences and moments from Dakar.
Check out the full image gallery here after you read the list: http://thel10blog.com/Archives/Senegal
#10. Senegalese Mona Lisa
Let me first say that I’m not trying to flatter myself at all because we all know I am no Da Vinci but this picture reminds me so much of his classic painting the Mona Lisa. I captured this woman in one of the many market places in a rural area of Dakar and I was so drawn in by her presence. The thing I love about this portrait is that she is not smiling or scowling, she is just beautifully present in the moment. Just so you know, I asked my guide to get permission before taking her picture and we got a few smiles after this first portrait.
#9: The Buses
I know I sound like a weirdo but I LOVED their buses and bus system. What they lack in window’s and comfort they made up for in color and design! They were pretty much big, colorful ice cream trucks with seats in them. And do you notice the guy hanging off the back? He’s there to help you on an off the bus — yep, that’s the entrance. My biggest regret is not riding in one but I’ll be back.
#8. Working Out with the Locals
I like to pride myself on staying in pretty decent shape considering how crazy my life is but I was shocked to see how serious fitness is in Dakar! We stopped along one of the their many beautiful coast lines and saw hundreds and hundreds of folks working out. Joggers, weight lifters, yoga, fishing…. it literally trumped anything I’ve ever seen on Miami Beach or even Venice for that matter. Motivated by all that fitness I decided hit a few weights. Not quite the same equipment at my gym but they make it work.
#7. Goree Island
If you visit Dakar you MUST visit Goree Island. This small, beautiful island was only a 20 minute boat ride off the coast but it is so rich in African and American history. The small opening in the bottom middle of this structure is referred to as “The Door of No Return”. That’s because this is the exact point where they sent over 3 million Africans into a life of slavery. Whether you’re black, white or anything in between, the story of Goree is moving and one of the most important experiences of my life.
#6. Obama Cuts
Now I won’t act like I was surprised that Obama had a lot of support over in Africa but it was crazy to see how he was a marketing tool for everything over there. Your hair ain’t laid unless it has the Obama stamp on it.
#5. Senegal Style
The Senegalese are pretty damn stylish. I’m thinking it’s the perfect mixture of their strong African heritage and the Parisian sensibility of this city.
#4. This Picture
I LOVE this picture but I have a few questions.Why are these couches on the side of the road? What are they looking at? What kind of magical sunflower seed is dude in the white nibbling on?
#3. Meeting this Baby
This picture speaks for itself and that baby was not having it with me.
#2. The Food
At first glance, this may not look like the most appetizing thing ever but my taste buds are still doing the dougie after this savory meal. The food in Dakar is GREAT!!!!!! Everything we ate was good… everything. If you ordered fish, you got an entire fish. If you ordered lamb, you got an entire lamb… that’s just the way it is. My favorite restaurant was L’Endroit. We went 3 times and I have considered booking another flight so I can eat there again.
#1. Floating in Le Lac Rose (The Pink Lake)
So the lake wasn’t exactly pink the day we went but it was still an amazing experience nonetheless. Le Lac Rose is one of Dakar’s largest tourist attractions and it’s largest producer of salt. The guys in the first picture spend all day mining salt from the deposits in the bottom of the lake and its salt content is what makes them and us float. I literally could not sink. I tell you one thing… you do not want this stuff getting in your eye and my skin reached a new level of ashiness once we emerged. Good thing my swim mate, Cassidy, had Shea Butter on deck.