Wednesday, March 24, 2010

animal crackers

Mom arrives on Friday!  The weather has been strangely humid and hazy the past few days--not much direct sunlight--which has been both pleasant and strange.  Pleasant, because it's cooler; strange, because the weather actually changed, if only for a short while.

And now I re-cap Saturday's adventure with the Institute de Francais pour Etudiants Etrangers (pardon the horrendous lack of French accents).  Some fellow study abroad students and I went on a field trip to the Bandia Wildlife Reserve that cost 3000 CFA--an incredible deal, seeing as getting into the park alone would've cost us about 15000 if we did it independently--but we sweated so much over the course of the day that we wondered whether it was really worth it.

When we first arrived, we found a selection of camels available to ride, if you wanted to pay.
We just giggled and took pictures.

Then we entered the park.
 And, BAM, hyenas!  They were kept behind bars so they wouldn't eat the other animals.

The front of our car rapide with buffolo in the background scrub.

The 2-hour drive in the a car-rapide, which we also bounced through the park in, was brutally hot and uncomfortable.  Lunch was provided by IFEE, and it included 3 pieces of fruit, an epic sandwich, a cold soda and a cold water, which made up for much of the misery.

We got really close to the rhinos.

Really, really close.  It was probably pretty dangerous.

Monster baobab used to enclose deceased "casted" people who didn't work the earth
...and therefore didn't deserve to be buried in it.

Fellow study abroad student + Baobab = size comparison

Giraffes are beautiful.  Males have darker necks than females.
Also, they walk weirdly for quadrapeds: right front leg moves with right hind leg, left with left...

Tortoise tortoise tortoise

One crocodile...

...More crocodiles.  
You can't see them, but they can see you.

Dancing to the tam-tam music in the village of Bandia.

After dancing in Bandia, where we were shaken down for money (politely), we began our a 2-hour ride back, which was minimally cooler.  We arrived in Dakar after dark.  It was a long, long day.

Dirty, dirty feet at the end of the day.
My host sister Aysha refused to hug me until I showered.

This might be my most picture-heavy post yet.  More words will come later, I think.

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