Senegal seems to have changed over the past few days. The countryside has become a lot more rural, with small villages full of thatch huts. The towns have been further apart, and people much less used to seeing visitors.
I’m becoming acustommed to hearing people calling me ‘white man’, children pestering me for money, and even adults asking me for gifts or money if I stop for a rest or to buy something, or even as I cycle past. Its a strange feeling, I feel harassed by it, but I never feel in danger or that I’m not safe.
In Diourbel I was invited in by a family for lunch when I asked if there was anywhere good to eat. I spent a very nice afternoon with them, drinking tea, chatting and being shown around the town market. The poverty in the market was overwhelming, people selling really small items, begging children, people (sellers) asking for gifts, and rubbish absolutely everywhere. The guy who showed me around seemed slightly ashamed of the constant requests, I got the impression that he was a little shocked at how people saw me, although I’m more than sure he understood why.
Cycling towards Kaolack and about 30km away, disaster struck. The bike felt like it collasped from under me. I didnt fall off, I was able to pull on the brakes and get off. The seatpost had snapped in half a couple of inches above the bolt… I think in the past I might have overtightened it at this spot and then raised it a bit, creating a weak point.
After getting over the initial shock I removed the snapped off part, there was enough left to lower the saddle and keep riding. I rode the 30km into Kaolack with a very low saddle, in a very low gear!
Today I tried to find a new seat post. No luck at all, I found one but it was too small a diameter 🙁 A student who I met cycling into town this morning showed me where to go, and helped me try to find one.
We ended up at a metal workshop… I still have the same seat post, but it has been mended by putting a steel metal pipe through it, and it has been welded across the crack. Perfect… I hope!!! I still can’t believe that it snapped!
I stopped off on the way out of town for a kebab!
Tomorrow I head for the border, I think it should only be 1 or 2 days before I’m in The Gambia.