Wed 3 Mar
Just when I am about to joke about how the weather will be today I realise it has changed. The blues skies are gone. The sky is grey and hazy. It could have been smoke blocking the sun but in fact it's dust from the Sahara. The wind has changed direction and now the sky is filled with dust "la poussière" they call it. It's still very hot and I feel as if I have a cold but more likely, it’s a "hay-fever" reaction. Françoise wants to meet up with someone in a town another 50km further up-river. We have had fun together and it certainly helped me to practice my French, but it’s time for going our separate ways, for making our own decisions.
I catch a locals' ferryboat across to the Barbarie and walk along the banks of the Senegal River, chatting to the fishermen and admiring their boats. Then I cut through one of the sandy tracks past the fishermen's shacks to the extensive beach and fantastic Atlantic rollers. This is the village playground and workplace all rolled into one. Fishermen paint their boats; children play with driftwood, or was h the family sheep.
I cross back on to St Louis Island, find an eating house for some local lunch, then on to the museum with its fascinating photographs from the colonial period. I pop into the Hôtel La Poste for refreshment and discover, as the name suggests, this was a regular stopover for intrepid air-mail pilots on their way between Paris and South America. I also realise it was used for a scene in one of my favourite films, Bertrand Tavernier's "Coup de Torchon".
I take dinner at the guesthouse and enjoy chatting with Marcel the propriétaire and charming son of a Ghanaian diplomat.