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and Gorèe Island

sunny 61 °F
View Bill and Hope 2019 on HopeEakins's travel map.

Dakar, Senegal, is the westernmost point in Africa. Just off the coast lies Gorée Island, a beautiful little spot filled with crumbling ancient pastel buildings and trailing bougainvillea. Gorèe is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, marked as a center of the Atlantic slave trade, its Door of No Return the last place thousands and thousands of Africans saw as they left their native shores. We took a ferry to this lovely spot and as we approached the harbor saw hundreds of folks on the rocks. The population of Gorée is only about 1600, and most of them were there to greet us – or maybe just to take the next ferry back to Dakar. As we left the ferry, about 50-60 “fairy princesses” lined the long walkways in fancy dresses and pointed hats, as they lined the red carpets that led to out cocktail terrace. We felt just a little over-privileged.

At the reception with grand canapés and champagne, we were heartily greeted by drummers and singers and dancers. The chorus sang Gospel songs in this country that is 92% Muslim! As the sun set, we walked to an old fort where we sat at tables decorated with weavings, musical instruments, and a bowl of peanuts (not roasted and tasting VERY green) and another bowl of cut fruit from the baobab tree (woven through with little red vine strings and tasting of smoked fish). The island’s storyteller recounted the history of the community, and amazing musicians plucked the strings of instruments formed from gourds and sticks. The Afro folk diva, Salla Dieye sang and smiled a lot. Our menu:
Senegalese Giant Shrimp with mango carpaccio, guacamole and grapefruit.
Fillet of Senagalese grouper with ratatouille and potato gratin
Chocolate delight with raspberry coulis.

As we were sailing back to the ship, a fabulous fireworks show bid us farewell.


Posted by HopeEakins 07:10 Archived in Senegal

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