Saturday, June 28
Dakar, Senegal

Now my third day in Dakar, and I’m feeling much more comfortable here. I’ve learned which streets to avoid to not be harassed, how much I really should pay for a bottle of water (CFA 400, or 1 dollar – I don’t see a dollar sign on this keyboard – for 1.5 liters), and that yes, I am married and my husband is waiting for me at the hotel.

One of my objectives of this trip is to meet some members of the international press and learn about their lives and jobs abroad, partly to determine whether I might push my career in that direction. So last night I had dinner with an American journalist based in Dakar, who travels to and reports from various parts of Africa. While eating at the French Cultural Center, I peppered her with questions about working and living here, and she introduced me to some of her ex-pat friends, who hail from various European countries.

I’m impressed that she, who has lived here for two years, is really a Dakar resident and not a visitor. She ate lettuce (I avoid that because it’s washed in local water, which could make me ill), had ice cubes in her drink (another no-no for me for the same reason), and walks around the city by herself at night (I’m pretty terrified of walking alone in the dark in any city I don’t know well. Or even just in my Houston neighborhood.)

I’ll let her remain anonymous because this blog is about my adventures, not hers, but it was inspiring to see a woman not much older than me living a life I’ve considered for myself.

In other news: During my wanderings today, I passed a gas station and checked out the price of gas. It’s CFA 823 per liter. That’s about 2 bucks. Google tells me 3.75 liters is equivalent to 1 gallon. So by my calculations – help me out if I’m wrong – that means gas here goes for about 7.75 dollars a gallon. And you thought YOU were paying a lot!