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I had long ago learned that when you are the giant, alien visitor to a remote and foreign culture it is sort of your job to become an object of ridicule. It’s the least you can do, really, as a polite guest. - Elizabeth Gilbert

6 February 2020, Kéllé to Louga, 63.7km
Casa Italia 12,000XOF (R293)


I don’t think I have mentioned before how very difficult I find it to deal with numbers in a foreign language. Asking the price of a Coke or a room is a challenge. Well, no. Asking is easy. Understanding the answer is a challenge. I can count to ten in French, but can’t understand 12 or 15 or 23 thousand. Usually, I rely on writing in the sand at our feet, or on a number typed into a phone or calculator. Even just holding up the matching set of fingers is no quick fix, as Africans use their digits differently. To depict FIVE, I will hold my hand up, fingers spread, palm toward the person I am addressing. Many Africans hold the tips of their five fingers pressed together, back of the hand facing down. To depict TEN, I will hold both hands up, fingers spread, palms toward the person I am addressing. Many Africans will clap their hands together, fingers spread. To depict TWENTY, they clap twice. For EIGHT, I will show five fingers on one hand and three on the other. Some display four and four. Can be confusing…
We saw more roadkill today than at any other time on this trip. In truth, we have not seen much roadkill, and then mainly birds and perhaps snakes. Today we saw cattle and donkeys and dogs and cats. Distressing. The long-dead lie desiccated and odourless, the recently-dead bloated and rancid. On a couple of occasions we saw the larger vultures feasting on rotting flesh - Africa’s clean-up crew.
Since entering Senegal, we have seen Neek Soow shops, usually neat, attractive little places with a cow and a bowl of white liquid painted on the outside walls, depicting what can no doubt be found inside. Today we stopped to try whatever it is they sell, and came away with more than we bargained for… about 500ml of a thick, tasty, slightly tart but sweetened, milk product, the colour of clotted cream. It was dispensed from a fridge into a plastic bag, knotted at the top. When we made it clear we wanted to drink it right away, we were provided with two plastic cups. Seeing us struggle with how best to pour from the bag, the young proprietor removed it from our incompetent hands, and filled the cups himself, re-knotting the bag for transporting. Yum. It’s a pity there were lots of flies in the small shop, something we have seen regularly since entering Senegal. A little off-putting, though we have grown accustomed…
We stopped for lunch at a rickety roadside joint and were served delicious chicken and lettuce baguettes. Soon after we were seated, a large bus drew up and the passengers disembarked to use the loo, order tea or coffee, and some a baguette. And then, just before we departed, four European travellers arrived in their overland vans, a young couple and an older couple. They had set out separately from France and the Netherlands respectively, met somewhere and joined forces.
At breakfast at the Coumba Andal this morning, we met a welding expert, a resident of Dakar, but travelling throughout Senegal to work on the mines. And a young man working for an NGO to “sensitise” the locals into treating their horses and donkeys with greater care. We also saw our first three camels trip, and a billboard advertising flights to Johannesburg on SAA (time to shut down South Africa’s failed national airline).
The road to Louga was essentially flat. Our first 10km of 65km, were pleasant, the temperature cool enough to warrant “chilly”, with no wind. As the temperature increased, so too did the wind. Our last 25km were unpleasant, the wind strong enough to force us out of top gear and into middle. We were rewarded, however, in Louga with a garage shop selling frozen orange ice lollies and a delicious grapefruit drink by Banga.

For today's route see below photos
For overview route, click on ROUTE tab above…


Residence Coumba Andal, Kéllé
Residence Coumba Andal, Kéllé
Kéllé to Louga
Kéllé to Louga
Kéllé to Louga
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Kéllé to Louga
Kéllé to Louga
Kéllé to Louga
Kéllé to Louga
Kéllé to Louga
Kéllé to Louga
Kéllé to Louga
Kéllé to Louga
Kéllé to Louga - trying neex soow
Kéllé to Louga - trying neex soow
Kéllé to Louga
Kéllé to Louga
Kéllé to Louga
Kéllé to Louga
Kéllé to Louga
Kéllé to Louga
Kéllé to Louga
Kéllé to Louga
Kéllé to Louga
Kéllé to Louga
Kéllé to Louga
Kéllé to Louga
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