April 2, 2001
It is possible to ride in a public transport bus, but I would recommend getting a seat in a 7-person taxi (you can catch one at the gare routière in downtown dakar and also in downtown Saint Louis), which costs about US$5 each way. If you have a chance to stop along the way, there are fantastic forests of enchanting baobab trees (they are surreal looking, like someone has planted them upside down, rootside up) and trees that fan out at the top creating an umbrella effect. you will also see loads of herds of emus and goats and sheep, as well as many roadside merchants selling wares such as baskets, pottery and local fruits and vegetables.
When you arrive in Saint Louis, you will immediately sense that you are surrounded on all sides by water (which, of course you are, since Saint Louis is actually an island). Saint Louis has historical prominence in the senegalese culture as it was once senegal's largest city (Dakar was officially pronounced the capital when senegal gained its independence from France in 1960). one of its most remarkable structures is the bridge that connects it to the mainland, which (as i was told) was bound for delivery to another destination and was not supposed to have arrived there at all, but when it arrived, the saint louisians made the best of it.
It is aproximately 500 meters from end to end and is the only means of getting from the mainland to the island. to me, saint louis has the feel of a senegalese version of charleston and new orleans all rolled up into one. there is a jazz festival there every may and many nightclubs that feature live jazz and senegalese dance music.
Because the northern part of the island is technically within the territory of mauritania, there are many mauritanians who live and work there. I met a young man, about 13 years old, who was living there with his uncle and sending money back home to support his family in mauritania.
From journal 9 days in dakar