Dear readers, apologies for the sparse postings over the last several days (Yours truly is traveling in Senegal and Mauritania visiting my girlfriend who is doing fieldwork out here).
For the last three days I have been in Dakar. I must say that I love this town. I mean, the whole place needs a massive paint job and a few repairs here and there. But it also has an enchanted old town feel to it. Although on the water, it at once also has an inland town mood. The people are friendly, but not too laid back.
Tomorrow I head out to Rosso, a town in the north on the Mauritanian border. I am looking forward to the trip and hope to write something more detailed about my impression of Senegal thereafter. I will also keep you posted on how things are in Mauritania, where I hope to do a lot more traveling than I have done in Senegal.
One more thing, the people of Dakar appear to really not like their president, Abdoulaye Wade. All over town there is graffiti asking the president to leave. Elections are due next year in February and the president maintains that he will run for reelection despite being term limited. Just yesterday he rebuffed calls from a number of prominent people, including Kofi Annan, asking him not to do so. Whatever happens this will be a critical election to determine whether Senegal will continue to maintain its slightly constrained but largely respectable and competitive political environment or veer off in the direction of a less freer society.