There are clumps of taller buildings, maybe 5 or so stories that even from inside the plane it is obvious wealth has been accumulated on those floors.
And there are hundreds of "works in progress" or "in waiting". Buildings with 2 walls built, piles of random cinder blocks waiting to be piled on top of each other, or buildings with windows peering out like hollow, dead eyes.
Deboarding down the long presidential-like steps off the plane minus the welcoming committee, hitting the tarmac swimming in muggy heat, being directed swiftly to the waiting bus - we have landed.
My first time off the continent of North America (not counting Hawaii).
Inside the airport, clear divisions already smack us: dark, beautiful Senegalese men in identical pale blue garb, waiting obsequiously to grab luggage, attract our attention, raising to our every need for U.S. pennies - pennies that determine if they will eat today, let alone what they will eat.
Quickly going thru customs, we are greeted outside by Tessie's boyfriend Bah and are whisked away from men competing for our attention and pennies: already laying bare the land of the conquered, the survivors of genocide, the struggle surging on with the perpetrators & their descendents of colonization, genocide, privilege and the continuing of huge suffering.
We are lead to a Toyota Jeep. I, as the elder, am given the seat of honor in the front, the death seat, as we are introduced to another man, a brother-in-law, Bouba, who smiles broadly and whose eyes twinkle sparks, and who assuredly coaxes us into the Jeep, waving away with a single hand the drab competition.
He reminds me of a gentle giant until he zooms into traffic, not bothering to use that neglected stick on the steering column - if he did signal, he'd have to look before changing lanes, which is obviously deeply against his driving beliefs.
Remarkably, we make it, in one piece, accompanied by a constant cacophony of horns so steady a bewildered Jasi in wonderment states "CodePINK-women-for-peace-assholes"!
We make it, without causing accidents, to the narrow dirt road off the pavement that leads us between crowded buildings to Bah's lovely 3 or 4 story home a city block from the mosque.
I am soon to find out Mosques in Senegal are as the Catholic Church in Mexico: every fucking where. But I get ahead of myself.
After we are shown our sleeping quarters, rest a bit, eat, we then get a tour of the crowded and very busy city by Toyota Jeep, from near the airport where Bah lives, thru the downtown where the president lives, around many markets, homes, businesses.
I am so disappointed no one is selling food on the streets - no comparable venders selling tomales or breakfast burritos!
Then, once again, I am reminded it is Ramadan - so no one is eating until after sunset.
Our last place we are taken is to a small, lovely beach where we swim in the ocean that beautiful & warm - altho cold to Bah & Bouba - and where french tourists have built mansions right on the stunning Atlantic shoreline.
And where the tourists swim. Tess tries to express her deepest thanks as she tells them she wants to mingle and experience where the people - i.e. the non-tourists - go.