You’re On Vacation In this Place? — Up and down Senegal and in and out of The Gambia — Part 1

“Bismillahi,” the Indian woman exhales, breathing heavily as she takes a step up the Monument de la Renaissance Africaine, the 160-foot bronze statue that has come to symbolize the city of Dakar, capital of the West African nation of Senegal. At least I think she’s Indian. “Bissmilahi,” she repeats, taking another step. From my position seated on the steps, I turn my head to observe her.

“Oh don’t mind me, I’m old.” Somehow, she has figured me for an English speaker. I walk…