Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Lac Rose - The Pink Lake

Two destinations were on our itinerary for Thursday, July 29th. First would be a stop to view the famous Pink Lake and then on to Saly-Portudal for a relaxing day at a beach town and resort. Below are some of the scenes from the bus between Dakar and the Pink Lake.
I keep thinking this is one of my favorite photos. What a beautiful smile on a beautiful girl. She is selling water in plastic bags.

We have arrived! First, a rest stop at a hotel near the lake, then on to that pink(ish) lake.

Does it look pink to you? Check out the mounds of salt. A high concentration of salt and cyanobacteria in the water cause it to appear pink, especially in the dry season. The color also depends on the weather. If the sun is out, there is a better chance to see what all the fuss is about. Any industrious person can set up a salt mining business here. They just have to be willing to do the work. A very small amount of this salt now resides in a "jar of honor" in my home. I didn't take it, a vendor gave it to me, calling it a gift. Of course later I was pressed to buy something from her because she was kind enough to give me a gift. Anyway, I'm glad I kept it, because it's a reminder of people I met, things I learned, and how I was touched by the entire experience this summer.
A little-known fact: Episode 6 of The Amazing Race included a task here. Contestants had to bag salt. (Haven't you always wanted to be on The Amazing Race?!) They also went to Goree Island's House of Slaves, and had to guess the author of a poem by former Senegalese President Leopold Sedar Senghor.

To get some of my photos, I walked into the water. It was as warm as if I were stepping into a bathtub. The dried salt coating left on my feet and ankles was a little bit uncomfortable, but I had been learning to adapt to heat, humidity, and the idea that I would not look and smell fresh and clean for very long at a time in this climate, so this was no big deal.
Fulbrighters and vendors are in the distance. Notice the girl in yellow who has decided I must look at the beads she is selling.
"Take a picture of me." I did. She gave me a piece a paper with an address on it to send her the photo. The paper includes her name and "Lac Rose". I wonder if it would really get to her...

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