1:30 am Dakar time and I'm in my room not quite ready to sleep yet. A breeze of a flight on South African Airways (6 1/2 hrs from JFK to Dakar!), and my friend Abdoulaye picked me up at the airport and whisked me back to his family's compound where I'm staying. Slept from 6am until 2:30pm then walked around the Castor area of Dakar a little bit. Elections went peacefully today. Senegal will wake up tomorrow morning with some news as to whether Abdoulaye Wade, the incumbent president, managed the 50% of the vote needed to avoid a second round run-off. We shall see.
It feels wonderful to be back in West Africa. The first time I came to this part of the world, I spent the first sleepless night sitting outside staring at the stars, confounded by how unfamiliar everything felt. This time I feel much more settled, and figure I'll just unpack, read a little and crash. Let the adventures in this peaceful corner of the world begin.
Incidentally, watched a fantastic film on the plane yesterday, "The Wooden Camera". A beautiful little film from 2003 set in Capetown and the townships surrounding it, "The Wooden Camera" is the story of a young township boy and an adolescent rich white girl who find friendship despite the lingering societal racism that exists in post-apartheid South Africa. By turns heartwarming and sad, its a companion to another great South African film, 2006 Best Foreign Language Film-winner "Tsotsi." Check them both out.