Senegal

Dakar

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Despite our baggage being woefully overweight, the flight from Bamako to Dakar was uneventful.  We had eventually made it to the westernmost point of Africa, although  unfortunately not under our own steam.

 
We had decided to book into a hotel as close as possible to the airport, as we were leaving early the next day, but the Airport Hotel still provided a stern challenge  in transporting all our bags, especially  with the high humidity and the heat. Fortunately, a local taxi driver befriended us, and assisted with the bags in exchange for a guaranteed ride into town, albeit trying his luck with charging exorbitant prices!! Luckily we were seasoned travelers by this stage and were able to negotiate him down substantially!

 Streets of Dakar

Once booked into the hotel, we left the airport with our driver, who took us on a short tour of the outer area of Dakar. We quickly realized that Dakar was clearly a lot more sophisticated than much of the rest of Africa, with a “European “ feel  to much of the  shops and businesses. We were so sad not to be able to spend more time here as it looks like very interesting city, vibey, full of life and energy.

 Local "chicks" on the beach      locals relaxing by the sea
We drove along part of the shoreline, and on the driver’s recommendation, stopped off for the evening at a local beach and spent some time with the locals relaxing there, before finding a nearby restaurant to have our ”last supper” .

 Fresh seafood, cooked on the beach  Dakar beach

Although Stewart was less than impressed by the tasteless local beer, we had a lovely meal overlooking the sea reminiscing about the past 5 months in this, the mother of al continents and wondering where life will lead us next. To say we were truly sad, is an understatement, as we both realized that our appetite for traveling has as yet not been satisfied. Only problem being that our only means of continuing, was abandoned in the neighbouring country and with no immediate solution in sight, we had to make peace with the situation.

 

We left for the hotel and after a few hours of fitful sleep, got up at 3.30 due to the incredibly bad smell in the room as well as the noise levels in the hotel. We  arrived at “Departures” all dreary eyed and despite our best efforts to spin a suitable sob story, we had to pay  for the overweight luggage. We were joining a SAA flight from New York which had stopped to refuel at Dakar, and so after a last look at Dakar from the departure lounge, we were on our way back to South Africa, feeling a bit displaced but still with a song in our hearts as we were on our way to see our beloved sons, family and friends.

So long to West Africa......for now

in

So, here we are, back “home “again, feeling somewhat sad, somewhat overwhelmed, somewhat excited, somewhat lost ….a whole combination of emotions somehow reminiscent of our time spend traveling…..no middle road, always extremes. But that is the path we took, and despite the toughness, the life we chose to embrace, so now is the time to “walk the talk”

We arrived back in Cape Town feeling like someone abruptly removed us from having the best party of our lives and dropped us in the middle of nowhere. Do not get us wrong though, there are no words to describe the joy of once again experiencing the loving embraces, caring and unconditional support of our beloved sons, family and precious special friends, no words to describe the emotion when you realize that even Themba still loves us and welcomed us home ! Despite that, I have to be honest and admit that for the first few days, my family renamed me Kermit the Hermit, as I developed a fear of people and preferred to stay within the safety of Rudolf and Chrizel’s home. The beauty of this was the fact that we both realized that we truly became fully “in sinc” with each other as Stewart just naturally took over the social role, answered the phone, made the appointments and gently coaxed me to start facing life again, one step at a time.

The constant flow and as the sun sets a new beginning starts the next day

We spend the best time with Ruds, Chrizel and Zack at Pringle Bay (thank you Kevin) and just reveled in the absolute joy of having a washing machine, a stove, electricity, to be able to play cards with our kids, to have a “braai”, to laugh at the fact that our “artist soul” son Rudolf is now the only steady one in the family with a job, a house and a steady income and who is now looking after all of us. Spending time here made us realize that life, just like the ocean, has an ebb and flow, a constant movement and that badness will always be replaced by goodness, sadness by joy, death by life . There is always a new beginning and all we have to do is to be open to possibilities, to get rid of negative feelings and to embrace life from deep within our souls.

Good old South Africa! Cheers to our new beginning!!

It is too early to say or to expect absolute clarity about our future, but for the time being, we are filled with peace and are looking forward to our new beginning. We are truly lucky to be loved, truly lucky to be able to live our dream and still have the security of knowing that we are supported by our loved ones. All we can do in return is to say THANK YOU from the bottom of our hearts to all of you, thank you for the support, the meals, the accommodation, the trust in us, the love and caring. We do hope that we will never disappoint your faith in our journey, but this much we can say, the past five months compares to five years of life experiences and in that way we vow to ensure that we will never again go back to being the same as we were before we started the journey, we will continue to see the good in life, continue to try our best to “pay it forward” and continue to try in our own small way to touch the lives of those we meet in a positive way and to make a difference.