island life

If you stay overnight, the invasion disappears, and island life reverts to itself. There's an amazing sense of community on this little island -- and all the inhabitants are aware of it and cherish it. Even the teenagers aren't drawn by the lights of Dakar.

Invariably, you'll be invited to join the small clusters of friends and neighbors that just sit, talking, passing time. They have few distractions other than themselves.

Mohammed showed me round -- they'll adopt you if they can and take you over the island for a small gift. He showed me the big guns on the fort that were recreated for the movie "Guns of Navarone", took me to eat at Madame Siga's. And we even dropped down a hole into a derelict underground watertank which was home to four of his friends. Only about 10ftx10ft and 5ft tall, with wall to wall carpeting, I could just make out the pictures of their marabouts (religious leaders) and german girlfriends in the candlelight.