Le Tour du Senegal Part 3: The Journey Home

Tuesday 10th November 2009

by Dan Smith
You might think that with the race over everything would go smoothly for the final few days… how wrong you can be.   You would have ignored the potential for mass food poisoning!  On the final day in Dakar we were fed a barely warm meal of meat and pasta.  Had we known that the dinner was riddled with salmonella bacteria we would have given it a miss!
A dose of food poisoning anyone?

A dose of food poisoning anyone?

The milder symtoms of salmonella (vomitting and diarrheoa) are pretty nasty at the best of times, but mix that in with 48hrs of travel back to the UK and you’re looking at a lot of time in some particularly unpleasant toilets!  Even without poisoning the journey would have been grim; we set off from Dakar at 3am, our 2nd plane from Casablanca was cancelled (airport workers at Paris were on strike – not something you’d expect from the French) and because of this we missed our train from Paris to Quimper.
Yes that is raw meat hanging up, but despite the flies it was well cooked and perfectly safe to eat!

Yes that is raw meat hanging up, but despite the flies it was well cooked and perfectly safe to eat!

After a night in Quimper (spent mostly in the toilet) I had to get to Brest for the flight to Stansted… but thanks to spending the whole morning on t’ bog I missed the baggage check-in deadline by 4 minutes at Brest… Ryanair’s policy of trying to make as much money out of their customers as possible on extras meant that I wasn’t allowed to check in my bike or kit bag, even though the baggage transporter hadn’t set off yet.  Rather than put more money into Ryanair’s pockets (something that becomes harder to bear everytime I fly with them) I freighted my bags back to Heathrow!
But I was really rather lucky… the poisoning that some of the other riders got led to typhoid and a week in hospital, so really I had it good! On the whole it was a good tour and the horrendous final few days wouldn’t put me off doing it again!  Next year I will be putting a Velo29 team together for a Tour, so watch this space!

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