Saturday, November 11, 2006

Under the wire

As Rose and I raced to the taxi with our new friend John, in town for a couple days, we tried to explain how unusual this level of stress was.

"But this ferry," the one to Goree Island, "is the only thing that runs on time."

"Actually, it's the only thing in Senegal that has a schedule, full stop."

There's no such thing as a bus schedule, it goes when it's full. And the one train running in Senegal (that I know of anyway), from Dakar to Bamako, Mali, is famous for being days late.

But the ferry runs many times a day, and sticks to the schedule.

Unfortunately, we thought it was scheduled to leave at 8:30. We were wrong. At 7:10, we got a text message that it was actually leaving at 8:00.

We were going to Gorée for a music festival. Tons of big names — Vivian N'Dour, Daara J, Ismael Lo — were playing, as well as a fairly famous reggae singer, Dread Maxime, who I've tried to see at least three times, and always missed.

The ferry leaves from the very tip of downtown Dakar. We live about as far from that as possible, without leaving the Dakar-peninsula. On a good day, with no traffic, it takes about half an hour.

It was not a good day with no traffic.

So long story short (skipping the cellphone updates from Théo, who'd actually left on time: "the boat's waiting for someone. Hurry and you might make it" and the moment where we arrived at the dock to watch it pull away) we missed the boat.

The next one wasn't until 10:30, putting us on the island by 11:00. We missed all the big names, including Dread Maxime (of course), but arrived in plenty of time to see the oldest troupe of Moroccan musicians anywhere (they were actually very cool). Also on offer, a band featuring every living resident of Martinique, dressed in matching red, green and yellow jester outfits (actually, also fairly cool, especially the faux-martial arts dance).

And then we tried to board the 1 am ferry to come home. It was the last scheduled ferry of the night, and we were ready to go home and go to bed.

Nope. The ferry was going to wait until the concert ended. At 3:45 am. We rolled into our apartment at 5:15. So much for sticking to the schedule.

All of which is a long way of saying that I was tired y'all, and didn't get around to writing my real blog post.

Return to question-answering tomorrow. Have a great weekend, y'all.


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1:27 AM  

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