A Typical Taxi Ride in the Streets of Dakar


Originally uploaded by mouse.courtois

M: Asalaa Maalekuum – Hello
TD: Maalekuum Salaam – Hello
M: Na nga def? – How are you?
TD: Man ngiy fii. – I am here.
M: Man ngiy dem Point E; Piscine Olympique – I’m going to Point E, to the Olympic swimming pool.
*insert bargaining here*
TD: Fan nga jog̩? РWhere do you come from?
M: Amerik la jogé. Man ngiy jàng ci Universite Cheick Anta Diop. Yàgg naa fii juroomi weer. – The U.S. I study at the University here. I’ve been here for five months.
TD: Amerik wàlla Sénégal lan moo gen? – Which country is better?
M: J’aime les deux!! – I like them both!! (Notice the lapse in my Wolof. It was bound to come soon…at this point he continues in Wolof, and although I understood what he said I do not know how to say it myself. I continue mainly in French.)
TD: That’s not what I said. I said gen!!
M: Gen?? As in sortir (to go out)? Or as in preference?? What is gen?
TD repeats himself, but changes the sentence.
M: I said I like them both.
TD: If you’re going to speak Wolof you should understand what’s being said.
M: And how will I learn if I don’t practice what I know? Tell me what you said.
TD: I said *same thing*
M: Dégguma. – I don’t understand.
TD: Well then you should ask me what I said!!
M: I did!!
TD: Don’t you want to know what I said?
M: Fine. What did you say?
TD: It’s a body part.
M: Oh. (I think I see where this is going…)
TD: You know, like arm, or head, or ear, or eye…
M: *pause*
TD: Only men have it.
M: You’re not polite, so I’m changing the subject. How was your day?
TD: Are you married?
M: (switching back to Wolof) Yes I am, my husband lives in the states.
TD: Is he Sénégalese?
M: No.
TD: You need a Sénégalese husband. Marry me.
M: One husband is more than enough.
TD: No, you should have two husbands. It’s better that way.
M: No, I don’t think so. My husband pleases me.
TD: Do you have children?
M: No. Not yet.
TD: Why not?
M: (back to French) We’re students. We need to finish school.
TD: Has your husband not had relations with you?
M: You’re very rude.
TD: I’m not rude, I’m trying to help you learn Wolof. Has he? I could please you sexually.
M: No, you couldn’t please me if you tried. My husband is better than you. You watch too many telenovelas (soap operas with white people eating each others faces on beaches/other public places), and those are not life. You need to learn to respect women. You cannot speak to us like this, what would your mother say?
TD: *giggle giggle*
M: Yeah, okay fine. Have a nice day. RESPECT WOMEN.

So, what do you think?? Believe it or not, the whole thing happened in surprisingly good spirits. I would like to proudly call attention to my personal growth in the last five months that I was able to have a civilized discussion with this man, to hopefully teach him something (which I hope I did, although it does not turn up in this conversation) and to leave without wanting to hang myself in the shower.

8 Responses to “A Typical Taxi Ride in the Streets of Dakar”

  1. froooggy Says:

    Grok grok grok. I’ll git my flyin’ musheen out ‘n’ come over thare ‘n’ slime th’ ol’ coot. grok grok grok!

  2. Pooh Says:

    So was he actually asking whether America or Senegal had better body parts?

    You did well, Mouse, in a gracious yet assertive way to make your point. Let’s hear it for personal growth! Maybe TD will have a revelation also.

  3. Dog Momster Says:

    OMG! I have NO idea how I would’ve handled that one…. wow. Mouse, you ROCK!!

  4. Amanda Says:

    go mouse!!! booo creepy taxi driver…. oh creepy men… did i ever tell you about the three german speaking professors from the college around the corner from where we live and their great pick up like to kathleen, liz and i at a pub?
    “excuse me, we have a problem and we were wondering if you could help us. we all come from different german speaking countries and we were wondering if you could tell the difference in our accents.”
    yeah. these are the kinds of things that happen when kathleen wears the jane austen shirt… haha.

    oh, and i started designing a rectangular shawl… hopefully it works out. it’s not very complicated, but oh well. it’ll be pretty. i think.

  5. Cait Says:


  6. Rachel Says:

    I told a man the other day that I was 24 (too old here to be “easily” sexually avalible) and married. It still amazes me what the women put up with around these parts. Maybe it’s just because we’re not from the area.
    I bought some laceweight in Madrid, it is blue and pretty and silk….and may have only cost me $7.00 USD for 200 grams (I think, it might be 1.5 grams, but I’m not sure- at least 1000 yards). Any ideas on what to do with it, besides stare and pet?

  7. lizard Says:

    wow… just…. wow

  8. Valdemort Says:

    PWNAGE! That’ll be a story to tell the grandkids (should you choose to have kids!)!!

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