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Senegal: Toubab Dialao

Jeremy and Sarah on Pamlarin beach
In Toubab Dialao I met Jeremy and Sarah, who would prove to be great travelling companions

When you're travelling in the developing world, the threat of getting ill lurks beneath the surface like a cracked paving stone on a busy pavement; you know you're going to trip, you just don't know when. Before flying to Dakar, I put serious effort into building up my body's natural defences, ready for the inevitable attack from Africa's overly friendly population of local bacteria, and after four weeks of bitter-tasting Echinacea and a couple of months of Acidophilus, I felt as ready as I could be.

The Peace Corps

By the next morning I had nothing more to give and no energy to give it with. I was, however, no longer throwing up, so I ventured out to explore the hotel into which I'd booked without so much as a glance the previous afternoon. It turned out to be quite wonderful; perched on the top of a small cliff above the gentle beaches of the Petite Côte, the Sobo-Badé hotel is as close to an idyllic Mediterranean hideaway as you can get in a continent that considers the beach to be nature's own garbage disposal unit. It had comfortable chairs, it had pleasant views north to the distant skyscrapers of Dakar, and it had plain, boiled rice served with sympathy. I settled in for the recuperation period, alive but depressingly lonely, for everywhere I looked the other travellers seemed to be barking away in super-fast French. And then I heard the bass-heavy beat of a boom box and the lilt of an American accent cutting through the air, and life suddenly started to turn around.