The first thing we saw when we approached the Lac Rose was the resort, hardly the most notable aspect, not because it was lacking in charm but rather the other things we saw were much grander. Right after arriving and settling into our modified tribal huts, we had a lunch a lunch of Yassa Poulet, chicken in spicy onion sauce and had our praises sung by a kora player. This was basically a vacation within a vacation and there was a sense of relaxation with a touch of luxury. After enjoying lunch and the general atmosphere we began an open air truck to ride around the lac rose. The lake gets its name from the color of its minerals. The lake has 10% more salt than sea water because the salt saturates the water and settles as deposits which many have chosen to harvest. These salt collectors take pirogues, small longboats, out onto the lake and use long instruments to scrape the salt from the lake bed. The result of this collection can be seen on the4 shores where enormous mounds of sand have been made by the women. We first stopped at one of these collection points to observe the lake more closely and experienced the awkwardness of being asked to buy things by women in colorful pagnes and with baskets on their head. If you take a picture of the locals and accept “free” gifts it’s sad not to oblige and have to tell them you don’t have any money on you. The women gave us their addresses to send the photos to them which made us feel suitably guilty.
We then arrived at the dunes: this was a majestic, epic experience of great beauty. The vast landscape just feels endless. It really gives you the sense of the desert and you feel one with the scenery. We stopped at an oasis and then reached the sea which was a profound experience in itself. You hear the roaring of the waves but can’t identify what it is at first until you go over the top of the dune and see the ocean. It is magnificent. Although these words might seem generic they truly describe what I felt. We stopped at the ocean and simply took in the grandeur and the beauty while listening to Riders on the Storm. Back at our resort we chilled,or read and then had dinner which consisted of poisson frites. Then Brian, me, Cole and Mme. Mapstone got the cards out and played hearts again but this time with Thomas, our fun and relaxed Wolof teacher. He had been to Vegas and there was a slight disparity between his and our skills.
The next morning we enjoyed petits pains and confiture and then set off for the beach by foot across the dunes. All the experience of the grandeur was felt ten fold more on foot than in the truck. Then we returned to Dakar and met our families with whom we were to stay for the first time. Jackson