Thursday, February 14, 2013

Dead Club Med

Did you ever wonder what happens to a luxury hotel after fifty years?  Yesterday, FM and I had the opportunity to experience just that.  In the late 60's, Club Med (remember Club Med??) opened what had to be one of the most exotic and foreign destinations.  Per the locals, this peninsula we're living on consisted of nothing but brush and the Club Med.  With the airport only about 10 minutes away, I'm sure guests were flown in, hustled into first class transportation, and driven to this spot of paradise on the most western point of Africa.

Club Med gave up on the property about seven years ago.  Much foreign interest pulled out of the area about the same time, and many hotels were sold to local investors.  Currently, it appears some French company in conjunction with a Senegalese business are trying to revamp this huge complex into a combination hotel/apartment/condo type property.  

They have a long way to go and their work cut out for them.  

Long story short, we accidentally checked out of our hotel a day early and ended up homeless for about fifteen minutes.  FM's local contact scrambled to find us a place to stay for the night, and against her better judgement put us up at what is now the Hotel Almadies.  Unlike say, the Raffles Hotel in Phnom Penh, she is not a well aged grand dame.  She shows everyone of her fifty years.  In fact, I'd bet some of the furnishings are original.  

But the land it sits upon?  Is unarguably the most breathtaking of the peninsula.

Southern side of the peninsula

Looking across the bay back toward town

Which way should we go?  Marker for the most Western Point in Africa

Cross currents slamming together.  Sunken boat and lighthouse in the far distance
BEACH!  Only beach on the peninsula

Looks good from a distance

Breathtakingly beautiful.  Those chairs?  Backbreakingly unsittable.

But damn

It's my kind of setting, and five degrees cooler

To the north is a bunch of restaurants we frequent and some dudes getting ready to fish
Another fisherman

Not sure what these guys are, but they make noises like monkeys
Not sure where they were headed, but a parade of gals went by  late in the day
Sunset at the end of the world.

I spent the day walking the beach and enjoying the pool.  I could close my eyes and pretend I was somewhere other than Dakar.  I was a princess of Marrakech or a colonial African settler of days past.  

In truth, I was a person who got an ice cold shower at 430 pm, swatted mosquitoes the entire time we were anywhere but on the beach, slept on a mattress that was probably older than me in a room smaller than some walk-in closets with an air conditioner unit that kept the room either hot or deep-freeze (I slept with three blankets on!) with NO WI-FI (the HORROR!) and an odor somewhere between kerosene and paint stripper.  

But it sure was purdy.  Really purdy.


jill said...

Beautiful BEAUTIFUL pictures!!

Mom & Dad said...

Very nice, enjoyed the story and the pictures, keep it up. Who knows maybe you are decended from a princess and are having flashbacks