A short distance trip (about280km) lay ahead today for team Lipstick taking them down the coast from St Louis to Dakar.
Compared to Mauretania there were quite a few more cars of the road with the road itself in a very good condition.
Various smaller towns were passed along the road with a quick stop made in Mekhe were the team found a ATM machine set up for both Master and Visa Cards.
Finishing the money withdrawal procedures a voice appeared from behind from a very Senegalese looking young man:
“How is it going in the Eastern Cape “
“Yeebooh and where are you from?”
“I am from Senegal and this is my home town but this morning I arrived from South Africa “
“What took you to South Africa “
“I am helping my brother who has a shop in Bloemfontain…. “
It is indeed a small world and the young man spoke perfect English with a somehow Afrikaans dialect……….
Off towards Dakar which became a time consuming task as the last 40 km took the team some 1.5 hours being stuck in a single lane road with hundreds of trucks and cars attempting to reach the same destination.
“Stau” in Dakar
On entering Dakar the first task was to find the customs office in the harbour where the team needed to report to the customs department for the completion of the “Carnet de passage “ which could not have been done on the smaller border post the day before.
A new mosque going up on the entrance of Dakar
The “PasséAvant“only gave the team 48 hours where after Lipstick would become illegal.
Arriving at the maritime office contact was made with very friendly soldiers at the main gate to whom the situation was told in broken French and English.
The soldiers had no power to give the team the necessary stamp but extremely helpful they summoned a junior solder to accompany team Lipstick to the customs department (Having only 2 seats Andre had to stay behind – with Willy being guided by the young soldier towards the custom office within the port area.)
On arrival there the only officer on duty explained that he also has no authority today (being a Saturday) to stamp anything.
Back to the soldiers base (where Andre was sitting in a nice air-conditionedoffice) the discussions of what to do now took place with the most senior soldier.
Again the team was surprised by their extreme friendliness and the senior soldier now decided to accompany Willy to the office of the Director of customs in the middle of Dakar ( Andre stayed behind in the air-conditioned army office.
On arrival at the Head office of the customs department the security guards on site advised that the office is closed today and would only open on Monday.
The soldier explained that this is an exception and one needs an official to sign team Lipsticks papers ASAP….
“No sorry everything is closed today”
At this point of time a car guard who overheard the situation joined the discussion and advised that 10 minutes ago he saw the chief director of the customs department entering the building.
The soldier now used his authority to convince the security guys that we should be allowed into the building and see the big chief…
Going up 5 floors the soldier, the car guard and Willy arrived at the iron gated front door blocking the entrance to the customs office.
The soldier banged to door a few times and some 5 minutes later the Chief of customs appeared and the situation was explained to him by the soldier.
Very friendly and understanding the custom chief explained that he cannot stamp anything today as officially he is not on duty but assured Willy that he will personally attend to the issue first thing on Monday morning.
The car guard said that he would then wait on Monday morning in front of the building and accompany Willy to the big chief…
Thanking the car guard Willy gave him a CLAAS cap so that he might wear it on Monday morning for ease of identification…………
Back to the army office and thanking the extremely friendly soldier’s team
(unfortunately we were not allowed to take any pictures with them)
Lipstick proceeded to find a suitable hotel close by where they could park off for the rest of Saturday and Sunday. This would also allow the team to rearrange al the scattered items in lipstick and have it cleaned for the onward journey towards Mali.
The Saturday evening was spend within the hotels premises and watching the Ghana – Germany game on the hotels big screen. Surrounded by mainly Ghana fans it was great excitement with Ghana at one stage leading 2:1 but at the
end everyone was happy with the draw of 2:2.