bush taxi!

 

 

Yes, it was really down to this. Chugging along at no more than about 60kms per hour in one of the hottest stretches of Africa -- basically you're sitting in a circotherm oven for six hours, squirming in your wet, sweaty trousers, and trying to work out how to lubricate your lips and find something drinkable. Travelling like this, stopping every five kms, is agony.

 

 

On the other hand, it's an easy way to get close and personal with the locals. Everyone's a little shy to begin with, but if you just start a conversation, you'll soon end up being interrogated by the entire group. Everyone's curious.

 

The camera is a great way to make friends since they can see their picture as soon as it's taken. Here we are with a quick self-test.

 


Generally, the senegalese don't like tourists wandering around snapping their picture. It gets ugly and it's a bit of a power play with some. That's why I haven't been able to take many street photos of people at markets etc.

But taxis are a different story -- I've literally got hundreds of mug shots from taxi rides.

 

They really don't see whites often here. And for the kids, it may well be their first glimpse. At least that's how the locals explained to me the absolute chaos that I caused when we stopped on the road and a mob scene erupted when they realized a toubab was on board!
In this picture, the van was surrounded by screaming hysterical who wanted to grab my hand and touch me. I'm a little embarrassed by their fascination -- it's a weird situation to be in.

 

We picked these two guys up in the middle of some scorched god-forsaken place. Believe me, this is how they were dressed -- and they're not shirts either -- long flowing dresses.
I was so taken with these two, that for the first time I offered to make prints of the photos and send them. But when this was translated into whatever language they spoke, they answered that they had no home address.
We dropped them off in the middle of nowhere and they went sauntering off into the bush. Nomadic herders or something. Two worlds briefly meeting.

Taxi rides are great, but slow. This little ride was only 150 kms, but it took 7 hours.