Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Recent Ramblings

This month I had the opportunity to meet up with some PC volunteers from Benin to do some traveling in Mali and Senegal. Here are some snapshots and highlights.

Segou Music Festival

This year the Malian town of Segou held it's 6th annual Festival Sur le Niger, which is probably the single most important event for showcasing Mali's rich music culture and world-class artists. The festival took place over almost an entire week, each day ending with a headlining concert whose stage was actually a float on the Niger river. (For those of you from Chatty, it kind of reminded me of Riverbend.)

Dakar, Senegal

After Segou and a short sejour in Bamako we headed to Senegal. It's capital, Dakar, blew me away with its urban development, tall builings, cliffside seascapes, and great restaurants. Dakar has an interesting culture all its own: worldly and sophisticated residents, an African language (Woloff) quite unlike others I've heard before, lively sub-cultures, and the capital West Africa's longest-standing democracy (modern Senegal has never seen a coup d'etat), to point out a few facets of this city.

Goree Island, Senegal
Goree Island is just off Dakar, and was one of the main slave ports in the 17th and 18th centuries. Today the island is filled with Malian artisans, museums, and winding paths that take you past old colonial buildings, baobab trees, and friendly residents.
Saint Louis, Senegal
Saint Louis is all the way up the Senegal coastline, just shy of the Mauratanian border. Historically it was the French administrative center for all of Francophone West Africa, and the island part of the town contains block after block of interesting architecture.

Toubab Dialo, Senegal
Senegal has some nice beaches--somehow much more picturesque and swimmer-friendly than the kind you'd find on the underside of West Africa in Gulf of Benin.Toubob Dialo was one of these "beach towns." Yes, that's me sweeping the beach.

All my photos from these trips are posted on my Picassa Account Enjoy.