Sunday, July 3, 2011
There is Peace Corps lore, propagated by Thomas Wheat, about Toubab Diallaw – a beach town just south of Dakar. The main attractions of Toubab Diallaw are not the picturesque beaches, the quaint village, or the lovely water, but rather the crepe restaurant and the pizza restaurant. Seriously. We ate a lot of crepes.
Friday morning after frantically packing, by shoving as much food and boxed wine into my bag as possible, I met Katherine, April, and Jackie at a small garage in Thiès to rent a car. Bethany, a response PCV living in Thiès, and three of her friends met us and the eight of us piled into a 6 person van that absolutely reeked of urine and off we went! A super short trip later we arrived in Toubab Diallaw.
Toubab Diallow is a real Senegalese village and it’s also a beachy resort destination. Both Dakaroise (wealthy Senegalese from the big city) and foreign tourists voyage to Dakar which makes for some weird bedfellows. Our hotel was really nice. It’s dormitory style, but we had our own room and our own beds. The bathrooms were communal. While I loved the hotel and thought it was great, especially for the price, it was a strange, strange place. The hotel looked like a medieval castle that Senegal threw up on. It was made of a million different materials, featured drum circles, dance circles, and lots and lots of study abroad American kids who were loving the “cultural integration.” It was a great place…and it was only a few steps away from the crepe restaurant.
The big crew from Thiès arrived before the birthday girl, Tamar, and Brian met us in Toubab Diallaw. Once we were all reunited the only thing we could talk about was crepes. Chez Baby is located right on the beach and is run by Sierra Leoneans who speak English and who make crepes. Unfortunately, it took two hours to finally get our crepe lunch order, but it was totally worth it. The crepes were big, thick, and filled with delicious treats. I had a chicken, potato, and onion crepe. It was awesome. Next up was lounging on the beach and swimming in the ocean before we had to take showers and start thinking about our next meal. The pizza was delicious and very romantic since we had to eat by candle light as it rained.
Sunday morning we were back, bright and early, at the crepe restaurant for round two. Round three happened Sunday morning when we went back for breakfast again! Our Toubab Diallaw weekend was supposed to be a fantastic 26th birthday celebration for Tamar as well as our last little getaway before we all return back to the United States of America. The weekend, shockingly, revolved around food and lounging. The beach was really beautiful and the water was warm and we had fun playing in the waves. It was also nice to lay in lounge chairs and read a book in peace.
Sunday night’s dinner was AMAZING. Having already eaten crepes several times and not being completely enthused with the pizza, we decided to go to the restaurant right next to the crepe place. The woman running the restaurant immediately noticed the necklaces Jackie was wearing – a Madame Ly creation – and asked her where she got it. It turns out that this woman knows Mme. Ly and she was super excited for us to eat at her restaurant. Because we know Mme. Ly, the woman gave us the option to order the “special” plate that she makes for all of her friends. A “special” plate is usually a tossup. We thought there was a 50-50 chance that it would be good so we went for it. We were all so happy that we did because it turned out to be a giant platter of perfectly cooked fish, grilled chicken, salad, coleslaw, and fries. It was heaven especially when paired with a cheap bottle of wine on the beach at sunset.
A great time was had by all. I definitely needed to get out of Thiès so the trip was a welcome relief and it was really fun to spend a lazy beach weekend with my friends. It’s amazing how little time we have left so I’m happy we have a few more pictures and a few more good laughs!