As we’ve been making our way across the meseta, we’ve had some terrific experiences, including two of my favorite days on the Camino. I’m working on a few more substantive blogs, but in the mean time, here’s a cool video Anne-Claire shot of a shepherd moving his flock through Castrojeriz.
We came around a corner to find him waiting for a clear lane through the sporadic traffic with a hundred or so sheep. Every so often, he’d whistle and throw a tiny rock, and the dogs would wheel the flock to the left or to the right. In the midst of the pandemonium every time the sheep moved is a donkey who’s sort of a center of calm in the herd. I used to work for a guy who said you need only watch the way the blindly follow each other and you can see why religious texts compare us humans to sheep so frequently. I don’t think it’s a compliment.
Here’s a short video Anne-Claire took on our ride through Senegal and the Gambia. The roads in parts of Senegal are notoriously bad, even for West Africa. Drivers, to save their cars from gaping holes in the road that would devastate a vehicle that hasn’t had shocks for decades, swing wildly from one side of the road to the other. There’s an elaborate system of using turning signals to indicate to oncoming traffic which way you’re going to pass, though I still haven’t figured it out. I’m not sure they have either, which might be why road accident fatalities are 8-10 times higher in the developing world than elsewhere. Often, the smoothest track is with one set of wheels on the roadway and the other on the less-worn dirt path running alongside.
I’m sharing this now, after we’ve left West Africa, so there’s no need to worry. We traveled some 3500 kilometers on roads in Senegal, Mali and Niger (roughly the equivalent of driving from California to Ohio), all thankfully without incident.