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Aksilem ak Jamm- Welcome to West Africa! (part 3)

by Julia Lingham 7/24/09

Aksilem ak Jamm - Welcome to West Africa (part three)

Other things I have to watch out for:

(Coconuts for sale at the market.)

Other things I have to watch out for:

When we eat (on the floor, we all eat from a giant bowl) you never eat with your left hand (your dirty hand) and never pose it on the ground because it symbolizes pushing your ancestors into the ground. For tiébou dienn (pronounced CHEB-oo-JEN), the local dish of fish and rice, you roll up a ball of rice with your right hand and pop it into your mouth. Goodbye forks and spoons!

Five tips for how to ride a motorbike in Dakar:

1. Hold on for dear life. There are potholes, craters, speed bumps and head-on cars and buses and the occasionally horse drawn carriage.
2. Lean with the bike, especially when you're turning a sharp corner and need to avoid the few dozen people in the way.
3. Keep your eyes and ears open. Eyes open because there is always someone standing in the middle of the road. Ears open because there is music playing EVERYWHERE - the Senegalese are obsessed with music!! From the roaring beats of the djembe and sabar, to reggae, hip-hop, rap (what they call here the "Resurrection of African Poetry)
4. Don’t ever take your hands off the handles…ever! Worst time to take your hands off is when you're stopped. Because chances are the driver is going to rev up and slip in between two moving buses.
5. Never wear a skirt, and trust me on this one; I had to learn the hard way. It's really hard to get on a scooter with a paille (skirt) tied tightly around your waist and ten men watching you attempt to climb on a bike.



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