Christmas market

Yesterday, while I was searching for an address, I walked around the Institut Français (89 Rue Joseph Gomis, Dakar) and saw a huge market. I entered it and found all types of african crafts and colors which woke up my imagination.

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There were all kinds of stands; clothes, ceramics, skin products, bio food, leather goods, jewelry, accessories, art…

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As you can see, everything was handmade and the majority of things were typically senegalese. Textiles and clothing were the most african recognizable pieces:

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I also saw music instruments I’d never seen before and other type of tribal decorations:

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Handbags and silver jewelry:

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The gardens were amazing, it was like if you were inside a fairy story, really nice to walk around:

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There’s also a very pleasant restaurant in the same gardens where you can eat or simply rest while having a drink.

I highly recommend to visit this ‘Marché de Noel’. It is free all days from 10am to 8pm and saturdays from 2pm to 9pm. It will be visible until the 22nd of December, hurry up!

xxx

Claudia.

Salon du mariage à Dakar

From the 8th to the 10th of November, the King Fahd Palace Hotel hosted the second edition of Dakar’s Bridal Week.

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I was invited by boutique NOVIA ( https://www.facebook.com/noviadakarrobemariee?ref=profile ), a shop in 44 Rue Carnot x Wagane Diouf, Dakar; which sells bridal dresses, cocktail and elegant clothing for kids.

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Diana, in charge of the shop, is the only person in Senegal who sells european brands, such as Pronovias or Rosa Clara. She started the business when she got married and suddenly realized she had to travel to Europe to find her perfect dress. So after that, she decided to open the shop and bring to Senegal what’s best worn in Europe.

So, as I was saying, I attended the Bridal Salon and there were many different stands; from brides clothing to lingerie covering also other types of businesses such as hotels, travel agencies and caterings. Here, Novia’s Stand:

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The show was expected to start on Saturday 9th November at 20:00h but it actually started 4 hours late…

Here are pictures of the backstage:

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Spectators & catwalk:

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Before and during the show, famous senegalese singers and dancers performed:

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Aaaand… the show finally started!!! Novia was the first to walk through the catwalk. First, the kids who were dressed up with their suits and ties, danced to Michael Jackson’s Billy Jean and managed it to cheer up the bored audience who had been waiting for almost 4 hours.

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Eventually, the cocktail clothes came out. Beautiful Pronovias’ vaporous and colorful long and short dresses moved through the catwalk, leaving everybody astonished.

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Finally, the brides dresses came out. Shining dresses for delicate, refined and sophisticated brides:

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After Novia’s show, other brands did their passage. On the picture, menswear:

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Lingerie:

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… and finally, typical senegalese clothing:

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After the show, I went to sleep! (it was almost 2am…).

The thing that shocked me more (comparing to Europe’s shows) was the informality of starting 4 hours late. People there had payed to watch the show… I can’t stand lack of punctuality!

Secondly, the backstage and the catwalk were a caos. Nobody knew when they had to come out, the dj didn’t know the songs that were ment for each show… everyone was walking around going nowhere.

Finally, the irresponsibility of models and other guests who were lent dresses and gave them back absolutely destroyed. I think that generally, people here don’t value things, if something breaks or gets dirty, nothing happens. I personally care about my things, and if I wear something they have lended me, I care even more.

Anyway, it’s just their second edition bridal salon so I’m sure they’ll manage to do it better in the meanwhile. The catwalk was modest but nice and the atmosphere was familiar and friendly. I think senegalese people are hungry of fashion and initiatives like this one are great to create jobs and to strengthen its economy.

Hope you found it interesting.

xxx

Claudia.

What to see in Dakar

  • La corniche. It’s the highway that borders the sea. Great views! Specially in the sunset. Lots of people gather around to practice sport in the outdoor gym situated next to the open ocean.

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  • Palais de la République. Situated in Plateau, the “Palais Présidentiel” was initially built for the governors (the capital of Senegal was then placed in Saint Louis), but eventually became the president’s residence. It’s not permitted to go inside but it’s an interesting place to look around, specially, the colonial building, the gardens that surround it and the guard at the door.

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  • Fish market. The fish market is an improvised market situated close to Dakar (at the shore of the same Corniche). You can find fresh fish and other shellfish. It’s interesting to see how the fish goes from the sea directly to the fishmonger who cleans it up and prepares it to be sold at the best price possible. It’s also nice to see when the sailors arrive at the shore with their small colorful boats.

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  • Sandaga market. This market is situated in the centre of Dakar (at the crossing of Pompidou avenue and Lamine Gueye avenue) and they sell almost everything: clothing, electronic devices, kitchen tools, kids games, food… it’s pleasant to walk around and to take a look at the different vendors. Be careful when taking pictures, people often get angry when you do it without their approval. Also take care of your personal belongings; although Dakar is not a dangerous city, it’s common to find pickpockets in crowded places such as these markets.

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  • African renaissance monument. It’s a 49 meter bronze statue situated in Ouakam (Dakar), on top of the Coline des Mamelles. The statue symbolizes the independence of the african countries and their upcoming growth. It was also highly criticized for costing over 27 Millions US$ in a country with many other main priorities. They accused President Abdoulaye Wade of making more of an “ego” statue rather than a real symbol of liberation. Anyway, the statue is worth seeing! It’s huge and you can go up to its head and enjoy great 360º city views.

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  •  Lac Rose. At one hour drive from Dakar you can find the Lac Rose (or pink lake). Its special algae produce a red pigment to defend themselves from high salinity turning the waters pink. This lake measures 3km2 and on its surroundings there is a small salt collecting industry. It used to be the finishing point of the ultra famous Paris-Dakar rally. Its great colors and contrasts make the lake a beautiful and virgin place to visit. I recommend driving around the whole way, where you will find great views (specially at sunset) and a huge variety of animals such as orchids or different types of birds. There is also a small bar with a little dock where you can have something to drink and relax with the magnificent views of the reflections of the sun over the salted lake.

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Hope you enjoyed the post!!! Eventually I’ll post more information about what to visit in the outskirts of Dakar and other activities you can do here 🙂

xxx

Claudia.