Black, White, and Blue in Saint Louis, Senegal
Boy, Old Town, Saint Louis, Senegal (Source: JG-House)

Black, White, and Blue: Saint Louis

When a few minutes before 3:00pm, our driver, Joseph, who had said little since we left Dakar, drove us into Saint Louis on the border with Mauritania, I felt my anxiety rise. The Fulani man, wearing a short-sleeved, button-down dress shirt and black slacks, navigated his Peugeot across the bridge in silence.

Black, White, and Blue in Saint Louis, Senegal
Girl, Old Town, Saint Louis, Senegal (Source: JG-House)

Arrival

I kept my gaze on the landscape unfolding on the river below. On the opposite bank, I saw an assortment of buildings in reds, blues, and yellows, all of them in mildly washed out pastels.

Black, White, and Blue in Saint Louis, Senegal
Teen-Age Girl, Old Town, Saint Louis, Senegal (Source: JG-House)

Attention

I opened the back door of the Peugeot, and suddenly a man, who had been leaning against the side of the building, next to the entrance of the hotel, moved toward me. I stood in the dusty street.

Black, White, and Blue in Saint Louis, Senegal
Girl, Old Town, Saint Louis, Senegal (Source: JG-House)

Survival

The lobby had a floor set in a pattern of alternating black and white tile squares, just inside the front door. Behind us, on the other side of the door made of glass panels, the group of men began dispersing.

Black, White, and Blue in Saint Louis, Senegal
Boy, Old Town, Saint Louis, Senegal (Source: JG-House)

Decision

Lomax and I walked through an open doorway at the end of the lobby to a wide staircase, laid with slick white tiles and tall railings for support. At the heart of the hotel, open to the sky above, the stairs rose up sharply into the bright sunlight and a blinding glare.

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