I arrived in Dakar on Sunday the 5th after a refreshing 8 hour direct flight out of D.C. For the geographically challenged - Senegal is the western most point of Africa. It's closer to New York than South Africa (which would be another 8 hour flight) or the middle east (14-20 hours). In fact, I'm much closer to Spain or Portugal and can pretty easily escape for a long weekend in Morocco. Of course, if you're geographically challenged, you are probably still trying to find New York on your map right now.
I know I'm somewhat of a celebrity, but even I couldn't believe the hundreds of people gathered at the airport anxiously awaiting my arrival. After I cleared customs (thank you, Arlo Guthrie, for the advice), I was greeted by a throng of smiling faces. Almost every one of them offered to help take my luggage. Where they planned on taking my luggage was no business of mine, but just the simple act of politely declining these well wishers took me a considerable amount of time.
After locating my personal driver and paying a $2 tip to the nice gentlemen with the official airport vest who helped me wade through the crowd of my adoring fans, we headed off down the Ouest Corniche toward my lodging. Dakar is an odd city for driving. The standard right of way is "first come, first served" and the car horn is actually part of the local dialect, which translates loosely as, "I can see you."
One out of every five vehicles driving on the Corniche is a Mercedes Benz. And one out of every five vehicles is taxi cab - usually a 1970's-era European compact sedan painted yellow with black fenders to more easily disguise the damage to every corner of the car. Each taxi also has a dangling side view mirror and a broken windshield - which are obviously mandatory components of the vehicle inspection laws for livery vehicles here. I didn't take the public transportation, but have attached a photo of their bus as my signature stamp to your right. Those who have seen my brightly colored wardrobe will quickly realize that I will blend in just fine around here in Senegal as "The Whitest Guy in West Africa"...