Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Senegal!

I
f you like to travel as much as I do, one of the best things about working at the IMF is that you're surrounded by people who travel the globe as part of their job duties. One of my longtime friends, Roger, works in our African Department and he travels to Africa several times a year.  In fact, had just returned from a recent trip that had him crisscrossing the continent!




I had lunch with Roger today and I told him that I was going on mission to Mali. I had been hoping to pick his brain about things to do and see.  As it turned out, Mali is not one of the countries that he goes to often, so he had no real suggestions for me on how to occupy my time outside of the office though he did suggest that I contact our Resident Representative there for ideas.  That was something I had already planned to do.

Roger did give me a very useful tidbit though.  Apparently, the quickest way to get to Bamako from DC is not via Paris as I had thought but via Dakar, Senegal. Senegal? I had never thought of going to Senegal but the idea of spending some time in Dakar intrigued me. Roger then told me that Dakar is one of his favorite cities in Africa, that it's a seaside town and is very scenic. It's also got a great music scene. He's good friends with the current IMF Resident Representative for Senegal - maybe he'll hook me up *fingers crossed*.

As soon as I got back to my desk, I checked the flights from DC to Dakar and sure enough, there's a direct flight from Dulles Airport and the best part is that it's a shorter flight than going to Paris!!

I also have a former IMF colleague, Abdoulaye, who is Senegalese and who relocated to his homeland after he retired from the IMF.  Abdoulaye used to work in our Paris Office and I would visit him on the occasions when I was in Paris and Abdoulaye always stopped by to say hello whenever he visited DC.  I've decided to email him and see if he will be *in town* during the days that I would be in Senegal. It would be great to spend time with him in his home town.

At this point, I think I'll only be able to spend a couple of days in Dakar and all I know about the place is that it's the terminus for a very famous car rally.  So sad how ignorant I am about this part of the world.  Well, this just means that I have a lot more reading to do but I'm very excited at the opportunity to visit a second African country on this trip!!