Oh baby, I so feel loved here!
Do you ever feel famous? Like a movie star walking down the street? Every day in Dakar I feel like that. I feel like I am Tom Cruise and everyone wants to meet me. Why’s that you ask? Well it’s the taxi drivers.
When the local taxi drivers see me, a white guy or toubob, walking along the road they have a fit. What is a rich man like me doing walking, and not in their taxi paying a foolishly high price for a ride?
They honk from, oh, about three miles away, and keep honking as they approach, even pulling of the road in front of me, still honking, as if I didn’t see them already. See them I should too.
Worse than any gay club I’ve wandered through, the Senegalese taxi drivers hunger for eye contact with me. They search my face as they approach, ignoring road and right of way, just to see where my eyes look. If I dare look in their direction, not directly at them mind you, they squeal into a frenzy of honks and brakes.
This of course, I should take like a free drink or a bad line, and be oh so willing to hop into their cab. When I seemingly walk past, the taxi drivers enter a whole other level of hysteria, even jumping out and opening doors for me, in case I didn’t get the hint.
And this happens every time I walk down a street.
Now wait till I walk down the road with my luggage when I check out and head to the local cyber cafe. You know that will send them into spastic epileptic seizures: a white guy with luggage walking to the airport!