Saturday, June 28
Dakar, Senegal

If you need some incentive to stay in shape, I suggest moving to Dakar.

The encouragement I got today during my first run in the city rivalled that of a marathon. Teenage boys threw their palms toward me for high fives as I passed. A man in a wheelchair gave me a fist pump. Men whistled. I like to think it’s because I’m the best-looking woman in Dakar, but it’s likely because my knees were showing. They peek out even from under the long man-shorts I bought specifically for this trip. Image if I wore my spandex.

The run revealed the beautiful side of Dakar! Dare I say this: As I was winding down streets toward the ocean (How cool is it that I’m on the other side of the Atlantic?!), the sight reminded me, for a split second, of Seattle. Well, minus the loads of trash, nauseating car fumes and stone-faced policeman standing by the side of the cliff with a gun half the size of me. (I thought at first he was keeping onlookers away from the cliff since there were no guardrails in sight, but I noticed on my way back he stood beside the president’s beach house.)

In all seriousness, the cliff-side road, which is popular with runners here, offers an absolutely stunning view of the ocean, with an island not far in the distance. The ocean breeze felt cool on my sweaty face as I propelled myself up and down hills. It’s one of the prettiest places I’ve ever run. I’ll bring my camera next time to prove it.