The warm and arid air caressed Miguel's face as soon as he stepped out of the airport doors. The guide he hired was there to greet him, and proceeded to lead him to his car as he carried on in French on his cell phone. As he got into the car, an overpowering smell of gasoline and cigarette smoke made him feel a little sick. He took his seat and slowly lowered the window with the manual lever. Amadou, the guide, started the car and turned the radio on: an Arabic song began to flow, with its rhythmic and entrancing drumbeat. Miguel was definitely the adventurous type: he could never stay too long in the same place, and was always looking for something new to explore and discover. Travel was his favorite pastime, and upon arriving in Dakar, he knew he was on the verge of a great new experience.
"- we go to hotel and after Dakar cathedral ok?" explained Amadou in a rather improvised English, as he looked into the rear view mirror. Miguel nodded, as he observed the children running down the street, pursuing a football through the window. He was completely fascinated by the landscape: Dakar is a city in western Africa with quite an important Arab influence. The temperature was hot yet not cumbersome, and the semi-arid climate gave a great feeling of comfort and well-being. Endless rows of palm trees lined the sidewalks and the street markets, in which multitudes of people came and went, almost all of them dark-skinned and speaking in several exotic languages. The numerous buildings were painted milky-white and Miguel was impressed by this unusual sight. He opened his laptop and began typing away, he sensed the day was going to be rich in details and wanted to ensure he wouldn´t forget a single one.
As they arrived the hotel, Amadou and Miguel got out of the car and took the suitcases out of the trunk. As he was grabbing a suitcase, Miguel noticed a group of children crossing the street, each of them holding what appeared to be a rather empty pencil case, a few worn out books, and a small sandwich; poverty and social inequalities were frequent in this developing country. Miguel decided to open his suitcase and grab a few Zippers, and walked over to the children to give out the backpacks. As he squatted a placed the bags in front of him, he made hand gestures for them to get closer. With the little French he knew, he proceeded to give a Zipper to each one of them, while explaining the advantages and characteristics of the backpack. The children could not believe their good fortune; they accepted the backpacks with a certain elation, and thanked Miguel profusely. As he returned to the car, Miguel turned around and found the children putting their books in the backpacks as they gleefully compared the different designs they had each received; with a smile across his face, Miguel entered the hotel accompanied by his guide.
After visiting Dakar's mosques, cathedrals, markets, beaches and monuments, and having recorded all his visits in words and pictures on his laptop, Miguel paused to reflect on his journey: he felt joyful and very enriched by the incredible experiences he´d had the privilege of living, and he was certain this feeling and the great memories would remain with him for the months to come.