Day One for this adventure wasn’t actually in Senegal-it was spent flying from Columbus to New York and then New York to Dakar on Thursday. The dogs’ Day One began on Wednesday when they flew from Columbus to Atlanta to stay a very costly extra leg (see Facebook rant about Delta if you want the details).
Day One of Dakar, Senegal began with touchdown about 10 am Friday. We landed a little remotely and were brought by bus to the terminal. We had been given an entry form on the airplane that we had already filled out with pertinent name, passport number, etc. I had met a nice woman at JFK traveling with her son who appeared to be between Simon’s and Maggie’s age. She taught kindergarten at Dakar Academy (A Christian K-12 school that serves missionary and expat children). I had asked her a couple of key questions to ensure I filled the form correctly in the middle of the night.
We got in the customs line with the other new ISD couple (they were on the same leg of the flight from JFK to Dakar as us). While in line, it felt like a long time because there was only one large portable air conditioner for the whole room and the doors to the outside were open. Once we got to the customs official, he compared our passport to the form, as well as to his computer. He took my photo using a digital camera and then digitally scanned both my right and left index fingers. He stamped our forms and waved us through. Once through that line we crossed to the double door opening that goes into the area with the baggage claim carousel. Pretty promptly our luggage came around and with some help from the ISD couple loaded up our 6 giant bags, 3 carry-on suitcase size bags, and 3 backpacks onto three trolleys.
Guess what kids, we all get to push a trolley! Good luck!
The luggage gets pushed to a x-ray machine line where the bags are scanned again. I’m not quite sure why they take this precaution since they had already made it through multiple scans on the US side, but it was just another opportunity for us to build our muscles by hefting our many bags onto the x-ray conveyor and then back off on the other side. We are proud (and Guy relieved) that all our bags were under the 50 pound weight limit (40 pounds for carry-ons) except one that was at 51 pounds (not bad!).
While we were in the x-ray conveyor line one of ISD colleagues that I had met in March arrived to help us with our luggage and head us to the vehicles they had brought to take all of us (and our stuff) to our various homes. The other couple also had 2 small dogs, but theirs were under 15 pounds so they had been able to be carry-on luggage. I was jealous of that capability the second I met them. Of course I had not a clue in the world that there would ever be a reason why it might be advantageous to have a dog under 15 pounds when we got the Cavaliers. I was doubly jealous as they were able to walk through customs with the dogs with really no questions and there was not a sign for cargo anywhere in sight.
There were not as many people there “offering” to push your luggage trolley as when we were there in March-I was told that change came with the new president. Only people with official business at the airport can be at the airport–it made the navigating out of the airport much easier.
The kids went to the school vehicle (smallish bus-probably seats 14ish people) with the other new staff members and a couple of veterans. I was triply jealous of those small dogs once I spent a great deal of time in the cargo hold area, with the help of the PE teacher (from Senegal so he speaks French and Wolof-Thank goodness!), the Elementary Principal, and Business Operations Director who all tag-teamed me getting the dogs out of cargo customs (more on that whole story in another post-think 5 hours).
There had been a problem with the electricity/air conditioning at the new house we are moving into so the school has put us up in a Bed and Breakfast-the same one Guy and I staying in during our March visit. It’s great! We would highly recommend La Residence. Simon told the owner he thought their food was amazing! They have even made an exception and are allowing our dogs to stay here with us.
After our arrival at the B & B, we had a lovely, and much needed nap and awoke in time to freshen up for dinner with the other new arrivals and the welcoming committee from ISD at Chez Fatou on the Atlantic. Amazing views, delicious food, great company. My children were not familiar with how long a whole meal can take from start to finish when you aren’t in a rush to get somewhere else. So peaceful-a leisurely meal with a crashing waves in the background. I’m planning on enjoying many more meals at that pace.