Tukki: to voyage
I’ve been going a lot recently, but this one caps the king. These past couple of months have included travel to places around Senegal through the lens of the rainy season, giving me a new perspective on the country and my memories. When you say, damay tukki- I’m in the act of voyaging [as my translations get French-ier and French-ier], theres always an inshallah, god willing, that follows. You do this because you both have no idea if you’ll actually get there…. or if you’ll get back. This past weekend, we decided to go to the Casamance, the southern region of Senegal south of the Gambia. This would be my first chance to visit the land fabled for its child sized mangoes and animism as last time the civil war was too dangerous. Yes, civil war. Technically the south is at war with the Senegalese government because they feel like they are of a different people, and besides, they make a ton of money by themselves. Yet war seems so far away from every person we spoke to, visited, photographed, and laughed alongside. In fact, if anything we, the 4 Americans, 1 spaniard, 2 Senegalese, and 1 Senegalese-America, probably brought more consternation to the rivertown of Ziguenshore.
So here is a recap of my craziest tukki yet, with omitted facts of course, but its an update, right?
From Friday at 6pm to Monday at 6am:
-We head down to the port, where we will be taking the boat from Dakar, around Gambia, and down to the Casamance. It turns out my legaized passport copy was not legaized- last time I was in senegal I was robbed, had my host father redo it, and essentially he or the police lied and my copy was not really legal….See, it had the stamp, but no one had put their signature on it. When I tried to explain that this wasnt my fault, as in how was I supposed to know they were supposed to sign it, I was duly chastised for daring to say that the police didnt do their job right and were thieves, because thats what I meant, right? We now have 30 min before the boat leaves, and…. I’m trying to leave the capital without a “technical” form of ID
-…. Wait, look at my drivers licence, this works too, right? “no, thats not a permit de conduire, it doesn’t say that anywhere.”…..oh wait, it does, except it says it in English, sir. “It doesn’t have your name on it… ” Or, actually it does have my full name on it, the one that is incidentally on my passport copy. 10min till departure
-5 minutes left. We are the only people in the port, with the security guard. Osman, my friends cousin, takes him aside. 3 minutes later we are running up to the boat, the last ones to hop on. Turns out the guard was just waiting till everyone got through security so they couldn’t see him take a bribe.
-Then a massive storm while we were on the 16hr ride down. Hello massive waves knocking on the portholes. Conflicting notions: German made boat, wait Germans make good boats? Oh yeah, u-boats. Wait, Senegalese people maintain the boat. If all else fails, swim? We arrive safe and sound in the morning.
-Cant tell you the funniest part sadly.
-Decided to go to Cap Skirine, one of the most beautiful beaches in West Africa. 1.5hrs later, it was overcast, so of course it ended with all of us getting drinks. Then back in the car to Ziguenshore for dinner by the river. Oh yes, and there was almost a 25 person brawl between taximen in the garage when we were hiring cars to take us there. Supposedly tourists in the low-season are quite a commodity. And then it turns out that we were the only guests in the hotel that has the number one club in town… hence no other guests…. but its also Ramadan, so there were about 3 people inside.
-Sunday, after a quick 32hr stay on dry land: we didnt have tickets for the 3pm boat back because they hadnt let us buy them in Dakar, they ran out of tickets, I believe more bribing, we then had tickets as last call went out, we zip through security and the same policeman going back to Dakar high fives me as I walk through security…. and then he did it again while tipsy on the boat. 16h later, we arrived in Dakar at 6am for sunrise.