Streets of Medina, and a Pearly White Polygamist

I’m back in Dakar, and signed up for classes at the French institute. I’m staying in a spacious air BnB inside the university campus with a varrying crowd of young Europeans distributed over their 5 rooms, hosted by one of these phenomenons that puzzles my mind:  a pearly white German academic who is married to a beautiful, younger, smarter (my personal evaluation and I stand by it) Senegalese woman, and eager to take a second wife.

My second air BnB is in Medina, on the 5th floor, with view of sunsets over the fruit vendors, coffee carts, electronics shops, kiosks, sheep markets, boulangeries, wood workshops, tailors and chique couture boutiques. Its a real bustly big city feeling, and for me that means a reasonable degree of anonymity, feeling confident and at home, and quickly knowing my way around (It also means amazing baguettes and fist sized ripe avocados to smush on them.)

The neighbourhood is deeply religious, and my sleep is interrupted with the morning call to prayer from the mosque down the street, and religious chanting floats in through my window in the evening. Sometimes I meditate at those times, the energy is conducive and beckoning. There is quite a lot of cat calling in the street (more so in Medina than elsewhere I’ve been strolling) though it eases a little after I change my jeans for a long, lose skirt and lose pants.

Friendship offers are easy to come buy, more often than not though it will be from a guy – and most often he will be into you, though there are obviously many exceptions. Generally people are, true to the rumour, sweet and warm like summer days and have loads of humour. Always up for a chat, sometimes a walk to give directions, teaching you a new word in Wollof, its incredibly easy to find a smile or crack a laugh with someone, even as I arrive with a 37 word vocabulary and have to guess most of what’s going on. In stark contrast to Paris,  people in Dakar have eons of patience to let me try to remember the words I need.

Ending here with the massive, and massively controversial, monument for the African Renescaince.



  1. Very interesting!!!
    And besides using a long skirt and loose pants do you feel any pressure to use the hijab????

    • Not at all, most Senegalese women do not cover up that much. Mostly women who wear veils will have just their hair covered, but neck and shoulders exposed. I think a good part of the attention is just about standing out a lot as a white woman. Loads of Senegalese women wear quite sexy clothes, just skirts always below the knee in daytime..

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