Phare des Mamelles
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Picnic at the Lighthouse
Perched on top of one of the two large hills that mark the Mamelles district of Dakar, the lighthouse has the abandoned look so characteristic of many Senegalese buildings. When we finally made it up the hill, we weaved our way through a lively game of soccer being played by local kids and stepped onto the patio at the base of the lighthouse. A family who seemed to live at the light house had draped brightly colored fabric out to dry over a railing. The fabric flapped like festival flags in the strong wind and stood out cheerfully against the drab white chipped paint surface of the rest of the lighthouse. The flagstones were cracked and weeds sprouted up between them. Most of the windows were opaque with dust, and the lock was broken off on one of the doors. But even in its state of disrepair, I was charmed and also surprised to see the groups of other people who had come to admire the view. We passed the cement benches placed there for visitors, and in true Peace Corps fashion climbed up over the wall and onto a higher flat area unguarded by railings. It opened straight onto the sea in the west and the city to our east. From this vantage point we were able to see my building downtown on one end of the city and the American embassy building all the way on the other side of the peninsula. While all we did was enjoy the view, next time I would definitely bring up a bottle of wine and a picnic. It's the perfect place to view the city and have an inexpensive lunch!
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