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Well and truly stuck in Senegal

Last updated on February 5, 2020

Simon turned up at the mechanic Monday morning to find the worst case scenario has happened. The gears are stuffed (not a mechanical term but pretty descriptive of the situation). So after ringing Kevin for a contact in Dakar, Simon sets off with an appie (apprentice mechanic) called Raymond and the broken parts.

I stayed behind and kept a eye on things while Simon experience a overnight bush taxi trip to Dakar with 9 other people in a Peugeot 606, he arrived at 5am.

My Tuesday was spent watching football (world cup) and waiting for Simon to ring, his entailed a short sleep at Moosa’s house (Raymonds cousin) and then after breakfast the hunt was on. What followed was somewhat of an adventure involving a taxi driver, Raymond, Moosa and Simon. Late that night Simon rang to report he had found the parts and would be back by 5pm the next day.

I should have known better, it was a long long day for both of us with Simon arriving back at 1am smelly, dirty, hungry and tired. Simon spends Thursday at the mechanics and they fix the hole in the exhaust in the meantime, it being a easy task compared to putting the gearbox back together. Simon is causing great amusement amongst the mechanics, every time they need a tool, putty, glue etc. to do a job, Simon produces it out the back of the car. It is a bit like Mary Poppins carpet bag.

Saturday and Senegal is playing Turkey and so no work will be done. Turkey wins in extra time and there are many unhappy people around, we were unhappy for another reason. The plastic cog in the oil pump bit of the gear box is broken and there are no spares so tomorrow Simon goes to The Gambia this time, there are more Land Rovers in The Gambia and so should be able to scavenge there.

Sunday sees Simon off in another overloaded bush taxi, they try the old trick of asking the rich toubab (white man) to pay for the two remaining seats in the taxi so that the taxi can leave immediately (as most will pay to avoid having to wait around) Simon, seasoned bush taxi passenger that he has become, is willing to wait. Arriving late in Basse sante su (border town of The Gambia) no luck on parts, advised to return in the morning. Simon looks up a Siere Leonean refugee he met in the market, she has a food stall and is surprised to see him. I don’t think she believed Simon when he said he would come eat at her food stall the next time he was in Basse. Not much to be said about my day but that I am very glad I packed my Gameboy.

Published inAfrica Overland

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