It is my mission to see these places before they destroy them.)
As of tomorrow, I have three weeks left to the day. I had my first frightening dream about going home this afternoon, while I was in the process of taking a 3.5 hour nap instead of taking care of any of the numerous required assignments I should be finishing. (Not to suggest for a moment that I didn’t procrastinate before, but SÃ©nÃ©gal has put me into some terrible habits. Fortunately I’m still excellent at stressing myself out, so I should re-adjust to college life fairly easily.)
I exhausted myself this morning by going into town to search for gifts, and not finding a single thing. It’s not so much that I didn’t see anything that was appropriate gift material, but moreso that it’s hard to be treated as a tourist. I wish I had bought tourist-y gifts before I got to the point of understanding my surroundings.
Beaded jewelry, wooden statues of elephants (which don’t live in SÃ©nÃ©gal, by the way), and all manner of other crazy things for which the SÃ©nÃ©galese generally have no use.
In this particular market, you are guaranteed to pick up a man who wants to lead you to his shop within the first five minutes. If you’re firm enough to shake him off, he is likely to call you racist. And then you find a new one thirty seconds later.
Lately I’ve been conversing with them in Wolof. They’re usually quite nice, and they don’t harrass you like some of the others. I enjoy the conversations, but the unpleasant side-effect is that you usually end up having to follow along all the way to their shop and/or get lost on some wild goose chase. I’m always firm about telling them that I’m not going to buy anything, but they never believe me. Even when I do plan to buy something, I NEVER do so in their presence. I always wait to shake them off.
There is one gratifying effect of the conversation route; I love hearing the words “she’s not a tourist” coming out of a vendor’s mouth. Alxamdulilaay.