The good news is I made it on to Senegal safely. The bad news is I never managed to meet up with the guy (“Max”) who was supposed to take me to my host family, which was arranged by Mamadou Gaye. The other bad news is that the airport’s ATM wasn’t working, so I couldn’t withdraw money. (Fortunately, I had $20 and 15 euros, which I was able to exchange.)
But, the good news is I was able to crash on the hotel room floor of James Delehanty, who is here to check up on the latest crop of students at UGB in Saint-Louis, my old haunts. We’d arranged to meet for breakfast at his hotel at 8 am on Sunday morning (in an hour), but because I didn’t have anywhere else to go, I showed up six hours early and he was happy to offer up his floor space.
This is also extra-ridiculous because Jim and I had almost this exact same scenario happen to us four years ago (nearly to the day). I had just come back from a couple week’s winter vacation in France during my study abroad in Senegal. He and I were supposed to meet up at his hotel for breakfast before continuing on to the north, to the university. My flight arrived from Paris at 2:30 am, and by the time I got my stuff together and got out of the airport, it was nearly 3:30 am. So I got a cab to take me to Jim’s hotel. When I got there they told me that the rooms were $55/night, and because I was a poor student (and would only be staying there anyway for 4-5 hours), I really had no interest in dropping that kind of coinage.
So instead, I slept in the courtyard (for free) until Jim woke up around 8 am. When I told him what I’d done, he said that I should have just knocked on his door and slept in his room — so this time, I wasn’t about to make the same mistake twice.
Anyway, my mission for today is to try to call a colleague of Mamadou Gaye and figure out who my host family is and where they live. Also, I need to find an ATM that does work so I can get some more cash, which I’ll then use to set up a Senegalese phone number on my Treo.
In other news, I found free WiFi both in Dakar airport and in this hotel (where I’m writing this now), sitting on the floor in total darkness, while waiting for Jim to wake up. I can hear the Atlantic’s waves crashing against the shoreline just outside the window.