Tuesday, March 18, 2008

The Saloum Delta

Eric, Francie and I traveled south along the coast this weekend to a place where the Saloum river enters the Atlantic. It rocked!! We turned off the main highway and the pavement gave way to washboarded, red-dirt roads passing through villages that only recently got electricity and where there are more horse carts than cars on the road, but actually not many of those, either. Our destination was a little room in a baobab tree -- literally, a tree house! -- overlooking a lagoon.


There were nine other little tree houses and river huts scattered around, and a little pool for swimming. The food was delicious and interesting, and it was so still there that the guests spoke in hushed tones throughout the lunches and dinners, as if no one wanted to disrupt the quiet.

In the middle of the night an animal woke me as it tried to tunnel and dig its way through our locked door, which reminded me that I had to pee, and as I clambered outside and down the tree to pee (and yes, the novelty was wearing off a little bit at that point, but only a little), I realized that the wind that had been raging since 8 pm had laid down completely, the stars were just nutty bright, and I felt like I was the only one around for eons.

lagoon with hut and salt huts

There's not much to do there (the hotel's website mostly shows people laying in hammocks), and we had a good time just sitting still, watching Francie clamber around the baobab (see her in the tree, to the left?)


reading our books, and staring at the view from our porch.


But we ALSO went horseback riding!!!


It was SO fun! I haven't laughed that hard in at least three months! Unfortunately, I mostly was laughing at Eric, who does not like horses and only agreed to this because he didn't want me to have to go by myself and because I wouldn't stop talking about it. He looked so uncomfortable, bouncing all over the place. He was a very, very good sport. (However, we have this ritual where every night we lay in bed and say what was our favorite part of the day. That night, he said his favorite part was getting off the horse. Which I thought was hysterical.)

We rode along the ocean, which, except for the garbage strewn all over, was like a commercial,


through a few villages,



along the Sine-Saloum delta


and then back home.

The next day we were going to go for a pirogue ride along the river but instead opted to do a nice hike along the river and the salt flats. We borrowed the canoe to cross the lagon, but we had to return it right away, which meant that one person had to swim back across. That would be my hero, Eric.


We also had no paddle, so someone had to swim and pull the canoe.


We walked along the river, and the ground had dried in these strange ways, it was spongy and soft, and we left no footprints -- it was like walking on ... I don't know what. Sponges, I guess.


birds in saloum delta

Now we are back home, it is two days later and I am still sore from the horse!!! I'm sure I deserve it for laughing so hard this weekend -- Eric is not sore at all!


Dani Schmidt said...

Wow! So beautiful. Just a wee bit jealous.

Katy said...

I'm crazy jealous. Your man did NOT look comfy on that horse, but what a great guy! I just tagged you on my blog to write ten random things about yourself if you feel like it.

Sarah and Tim said...

Sounds like a really fun trip... quite relaxing!