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ANTHONY BOURDAIN PARTS UNKNOWN
Parts Unknown: Senegal. Aired 9-10p ET
Aired May 29, 2016 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[21:00:17] ANTHONY BOURDAIN, CNN HOST, "PARTS UNKNOWN": Some places surprise you. Even if you've been traveling nearly non-stop for 15 years like me, there are places that snap you out of your comfortable world view, take your assumptions and your prejudices, and turn them upside down. They lead you to believe that maybe there is hope in the world. Senegal is one of those places.
BOURDAIN: At first you see what you see in so many places in Africa -- the noisy streets, busy markets, the controlled, consensual chaos of daily commerce. But look just a little bit longer, a little bit deeper, and you'll see it's so different here from its neighbors -- from anywhere, really. A rebuke to those who'd paint a whole continent as a monolith of despair, or Islam as something to be feared. Senegal turns simple minded assumptions and prejudice on their heads at every turn.
BOURDAIN: How did you come to know and like and love this country?
OFEIBEA QUIST-ARCTON, NPR AFRICA CORRESPONDENT: I think it was just listening and watching and thinking, "Gosh, this is quite different to all the other countries I know." For a start, the languages. You've heard Wolof?
QUIST-ARCTON: (SPEAKS WOLOF) Sometimes you think people were quarrelling.
QUIST-ARCTON: And they're not, they're laughing. They're laughing.
BOURDAIN: Ofeibea Quist-Arcton is the NPR Africa correspondent. She's of Ghanaian descent, but has made Dakar the Senegalese capital, her home for over ten years.
QUIST-ARCTON: The Senegalese are easy to get on with and they care about you and I guess that's what we all want as human beings, isn't it? To be loved, to be cherished. And, I found that here. I won't be here forever because I'm from Ghana, but I will be visiting forever because there are no two Senegals. I mean (SPEAKING FRENCH). I think the Senegalese are extraordinary, they're open, they welcome you, and, for me, that about makes a good place to live. BOURDAIN: I fear I come with this assumption that Senegal will be yet
another failed state or yet another state that, that has gone through, uh, a really terrible post-colonial period that never really --that, that transitioned badly.
QUIST-ARCTON: You'll know that Senegal is one of the few countries, never had a coup d'etat.
QUIST-ARCTON: And I think that that just makes such a huge difference to a nation. We're in a ninety-plus percent Muslim country.
QUIST-ARCTON: Their first president, a Catholic who governed for 20 years. And, of course, there, there were elements of repression but not as we've seen in many other African countries.
BOURDAIN: Europeans first reached West Africa in the mid-15th Century bringing with them the usual things -- an industrialized slave trade, subjugation, the rule of the many by the very few. In the carving up of a continent it was France that got Senegal and commanding favorite status within France's West African Colonial holdings, the Senegalese gained full rights as French citizens in the late 1800's. With independence in 1960, power passed bloodlessly and with stunning cordiality. Though overwhelmingly a Muslim country, Senegal elected Leopold Senghor, a Catholic as their first president and, from that time on, Senegal has enjoyed a moderate political and religious climate unique almost anywhere in the world.
[21:05:20] PIERRE THIAM, PIERRE THIAM CATERING OWNER: Well, food is great when cultures meet, you know? Because the colonial power brought their food culture. I think that's what makes great food and, uh, Senegal is great for that because of its geographical location. It's a cross road. I think that's what makes the food quite unique here.
BOURDAIN: Pierre Thiam is a chef, restaurateur, and cookbook author who was born and raised here in Dakar. His books are absolutely fundamental references when investigating Senegalese cuisine.
THIAM: This is Senegalese favorite fish. It is called Thiof.
THIAM: It kind of tastes like grouper. So, I think we should have it. Great fish.
BOURDAIN: All right.
Senegal has famously delicious food -- flavors, and, often, ingredients that should be eerily familiar to any fan of Southern cooking. We meet at Cour De Cassation Beach serving food just the way I like it -- a shack on the water, catch of the day, cooked up out back. THIAM: This whole thing is illegal, actually.
THIAM: It's, it's -- they don't have a license.
BOURDAIN: But, I mean, they're continuously operating. I mean it technically --
THIAM: But, every once in a while -- once in a while, I come and it's closed. The police shuts them down.
BOURDAIN: Right. But then they come back.
THIAM: And then they come back. You know? It's --
BOURDAIN: Oh! These are supposed to be good, right?
BOURDAIN: This is local beer.
THIAM: It's the local beer.
BOURDAIN: It's the finest of the local beer.
THIAM: Well, it's considered the people's beer. It's the cheapest one. Yes, so --
BOURDAIN: Oh, well, huh, it figures. I'm a cheap date.
Do you want to hide these, uh?
THIAM: Actually the, yes. Just put it under the table, actually.
BOURDAIN: You know what I'm going to do? Yes.
THIAM: Cheers, man.
THIAM: Welcome to Dakar.
BOURDAIN: Thank you. So, I'm really interested in your story. I mean, you were born here.
THIAM: Yes, right here in Dakar.
BOURDAIN: Right here in Dakar.
BOURDAIN: Went to New York.
BOURDAIN: I mean, I'm jumping ahead some but --
THIAM: First job in New York was, uh, a restaurant job like --
BOURDAIN: Of course.
THIAM: -- every, every immigrant.
THIAM: You know? As a busboy, actually, but from a busboy, I just fell in love with what was happening behind the kitchen because, you know, I come from a culture where kitchen is a women activity and also, it's like, I'd never seen men cooking.
BOURDAIN: What, what was the type of cuisine you were learning?
THIAM: Mostly American, continental American, and then it turned to Jean Claude, was French Bistro.
THIAM: And from Jean Claude, boom opened around the corner. It was, like, early '90s.
BOURDAIN: Wait a minute. Boom on Spring Street?
THIAM: On Spring Street!
BOURDAIN: Okay, wait a minute. I used to work at that store, at, before it was called WPA. So --
BOURDAIN: -- we worked in the same restaurant kitchen.
THIAM: In the same kitchen. It's like --
BOURDAIN: Downstairs kitchen.
THIAM: Basement kitchen.
BOURDAIN: It was downstairs.
THIAM: Oh, I can't believe this, man. Well, Boom, Boom was really the defining moment for me. Boom had, like, this global ethnic/Italian --
BOURDAIN: So you saw a window to start introducing African, West African flavors?
BOURDAIN: And it, it worked. People were receptive to that.
THIAM: Absolutely, yes, yes. Oh, wow.
BOURDAIN: Tonight we're having yassa made with the local fish called thiof. Cooked simply, on the bone, wrapped in foil, and steamed over the fire, served with a mignonette-type sauce of onions.
Grilled mussels. Sea urchin.
BOURDAIN: Mm, grilled mussels is cool.
BOURDAIN: Oh, that was good. Mm, starving. I mean, I'm really hungry. So, what distinguishes Senegalese cuisine from the neighbors?
THIAM: I think we have the best food in the continent.
BOURDAIN: Have you, you've traveled in the American south?
THIAM: Yes, yes.
BOURDAIN: Um, I mean, do you notice some things about the food?
THIAM: It's familiar.
It's so familiar.
BOURDAIN: It's, I mean, look, like, shrimp and grits.
BOURDAIN: Okay? I mean, I've eaten shrimp and grits in Africa many times. I mean, they call it something else.
THIAM: Exactly. I think the most interesting part of American food is our, our contribution.
BOURDAIN: How did you feel when you first turned on TV and you see some, you know, rich white lady and she says, "Well, we're about to do," you know, "my family, this is an old family recipe." You know?" An American classic, a traditional favorite." Do you say, "Wait a minute that's -- "
THIAM: "That's mine!"
BOURDAIN: "That's mine." I mean, happy? Proud? Pissed off? What?
THIAM: Oh yes. Proud, proud. Happy too. No, not pissed off. No, that, I was never pissed off. I thought, you know, yes. I think food is such a great way of uniting people. You know? It's like you're breaking barriers. Food is not only about feeding yourself here in Senegal, it's a whole culture. The most important value is what we call "Teranga." The more you share, the more your bowl will be plentiful. It's not how much you have, it's how much you give. That's what matters in Senegal. So, so Teranga is that culture.
[21:13:33] BOURDAIN: The call to prayer. Five times a day, every day. But Friday at 2 P.M. is the most important. Dakar shuts down as people head to the mosque -- the invocation of the Muslim reverberates throughout the city. The mosques fill to capacity, people spill onto the sidewalks and streets, they pray where they can. In Senegal the majority of the people are Sufi Muslims, practicing a mystic form of Islam which is often considered more tolerant.
FAMA DIOUF, CEO & ARTISTIC DIRECTOR AT F. DIOUF PHOTOGRAPHY STUDIO: Senegal is very different from other countries. We all very tolerance. We also have, in Senegalese family, Christian married to Muslim, Muslim married to Christian. So, you don't really know exactly who's Christian and you don't really know who is Muslim.
BOURDAIN: It is a comfortable assumption that Islam is oppressive to women -- that it allows no room for personal expression, that it forces women to hide themselves. These ladies, however make that argument more complicated. Fama Diouf is a photographer. Oumy Ndour is a journalist and television presenter. Minielle Tall is an entrepreneur and owner of a group of salons. As the country changes many, if not most, have adopted the cultural values and styles of the west. However, two of these women have chosen to wear the traditional hijab.
BOURDAIN: A lot of people who watch this, particularly women, look at the hijab in particular as an instrument, at the very least as an instrument of male oppression. What would you say to them?
OUMY NDOUR, JOURNALIST: For me religion is a, uh, is a personal thing and I, and I decide, decided to, to get this. So, why people keep on asking me every day, "Why? Why? Why?"
BOURDAIN: Well, I, I think the, the simple answer is that what to you is a personal lifestyle choice looks, too much of the world like a political choice.
NDOUR: It is a choice for me. So, some of the Senegalese girls, they have a choice to wear Western clothes. I have also as a right to wear (INAUDIBLE).
MINIELLE TALL, ENTREPRENEUR: In a way the reason behind it for every Muslim, uh, will be modesty. Whether you come from a rich background or a poor background, people should not judge you on the way you dress. She doesn't want you to be, like, "Oh my gosh. I love her hair. Oh, her earrings! Oh! The watch! No, you see us as something threatening but we are just here in peace.
BOURDAIN: What about women's roles here, traditionally? In many of the African countries that I've been to often you will see the man walking up front and behind the wife and the children, you know, carry, carrying the, the bucket of water or, you know, laden down doing the work.
DIOUF: I mean, here, in Dakar, you're not going to see it.
BOURDAIN: You say that with a -- with determination.
DIOUF: Oh, yes. Oh, yes. I am definitely sure about that, OK?
BOURDAIN: As if you will personally ensure that you won't.
Seriously, I think it's time for women to change the face of Senegal.
BOURDAIN: Why not now?
DIOUF: They are not ready for that right now.
TALL: Well --
BOURDAIN: Why not? What's missing?
TALL: You will have powerful women, like, arguing for what we call "parite" here. So, gender balance. And, then, you take that same woman and you tell her that her son is supposed to start cooking and doing the laundry. Laundry -- there is even a word.
BOURDAIN: I'm sorry, what's wrong with that?
TALL: So, for Senegalese women, taking care of her man and treating him as a king is part of who she is and she is taking proud of it.
NDOUR: It's too easy to be a, a boy here in Senegal. You do nothing, nothing.
DIOUF: There's been men in the position of presidential but we can have, uh, also a woman in the head of, uh, Senegal. If we don't try, we will never know.
[21:18:29] BOURDAIN: Sometimes we get lucky. We get to do things on this show because -- just because it's a show, that are, frankly, awesome. Like this, a small restaurant in Dakar. The delicious smells of Senegalese cooking coming from the kitchen. A band.
(YOUSSOU N'DOUR PERFORMING)
Youssou N'Dour -- one of the most beloved musicians on the African continent. Famous throughout the world for blending of traditional music of the region with Cuban rumba, American jazz, and R&B. Mbalax, as it came to be known, has had an enormous influence on musicians worldwide -- like that sting guy. Tracy Chapman, and Saint Bruce of Asbury, and, most famously, his frequent collaborator Peter Gabriel.
(YOUSSOU N'DOUR PERFORMING)
BOURDAIN: People started to talk about you when you age 12 when you started to perform, uh, professionally.
YOUSSOU N'DOUR, SENEGALESE SINGER: Yes.
BOURDAIN: But did you come from a musical tradition?
N'DOUR: My mom, she's a griot. Griot are the storytellers and they are also singers, rappers, and everything. And I, I grow with my grandma, she was a big singer. She gave me a lot of things. And from there going to the school for two years, then left the school and start my career.
BOURDAIN: Tonight we are having a beef mafe, which is a stew thickened with ground peanuts. There are similar preparations throughout West Africa, but the Senegalese version is particularly great. Sear the beef, cook the onion, garlic, peppers, and carrots, deglaze with ground peanuts and broth, bringing up all that good stuff from the pan, then simmer until tender and awesome. Serve hot over rice.
BOURDAIN: That looks good.
N'DOUR: That's good. Good, good, good, good, good. Thank you.
BOURDAIN: Wow. This is very, very good.
N'DOUR: The symbol of connection, Mali and Senegal, is the mafe. This dish, you can appreciate here, you can appreciate in Mali also.
BOURDAIN: So, what's the future?
BOURDAIN: The future. Twenty years from now, where will Senegal be?
N'DOUR: What I hope is in 20 years, Senegal is going to be the place for great and big contribution of what we call Islam.
BOURDAIN: Do you think there's any danger of, the kind of radical Islam that we see taking hold in many places in Africa?
N'DOUR: All these people who are using the religion, Muslim religion, to do bad things, I think Senegal have example. I this country have models of the religion. This country, you know, you are here, I'm doing my local bissap and you are with your beer and country 95 percent Muslim.
N'DOUR: And, I think this example can help all the world. BOURDAIN: I hope so. Inshallah.
[21:23:23] N'DOUR: Merci, thank you.
[21:27:14] BOURDAIN: Time stopped. That's what it seems like in the City of Saint-Louis when the sun is at its highest and the streets are empty. A hundred sixty miles up the coast from Dakar, the one-time capital was a hub for all French West Africa -- an important port at the mouth of the Senegal River.
(SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE)
BOURDAIN: Every culture has an iconic, much loved, street food -- the kind of thing you yearn for when you're away. We have our dirty water hot dogs in New York, here they have Ndamb (ph).
(SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE)
BOURDAIN: What people have described as a bean sandwich, but what is really a spread of spicy lentils on a baguette. You buy your baguette at the bakery, bring it over to the nice lady, she slathers on the good stuff, and there you go. And it is, indeed, addictively delicious.
BOURDAIN: So, everything comes, came through here.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think that we can understand, the case of Saint Louis, the situation of Saint Louis, we can understand it if only if we know well the geography. Because what made this town according to me is the river. Because it runs through five states, five countries. Mali, Mauritania, Senegal of course, Guinea.
BOURDAIN: So, everything comes --
(SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE)
Attitude about many things are decidedly different here. Where many post-colonial cultures around (INAUDIBLE) conflicting about their bloodlines -- picking black or white to identity with -- here, people are proud of who they are and where they came from. All of it.
BOURDAIN: I'm curious why the post-colonial experience in Senegal is so different than the post-colonial experience almost everywhere else.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think that the pre-colonial and the colonial in Senegal is different, also. Not only the post-colonial experience, because in Saint-Louis we had lots of influences, I think.
BOURDAIN: Arab, Portuguese, uh --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So, because, yes, the Portuguese and the English first they were here and after that, the Moroccan from Morocco.
MARIE-CAROLINE CAMARA, ST. LOUIS METISSE: My feeling was this -- that because we are at the crossing of various roads, eh, independently from the colonization prior, makes the Senegalese people very open- minded, very good negotiators, also.
BOURDAIN: Marie-Caroline Camara is a St. Louis metisse -- Senegalese father, French mother -- and she's hosted a lunch with some friends and colleagues, all of whom consider themselves Senegalese first, before anything.
CAMARA: And, and my feeling compared to other African countries, is that maybe it's come also from, uh, the, the Wolof women because the metis family here, people were really married.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, at least the descendants --
BOURDAIN: Between Wolof and other groups.
CAMARA: -- recognize, you know? Compared to West Indies where even if people had, um, some white people had children with, um, their slaves they were not recognized. Here all these, uh, children and unions were recognized. So, for me that is very special.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The most, eh, um, riches in, in Senegal is our culture. Is not, uh, petrol, oil, or, other thing. I think that it's our culture, our -- our type of life, our customs.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Music, yes. Our, uh, culinary art.
CAMARA: OK, so, we are eating Mulet Farci a la Saint-Louisienne.
CAMARA: It's a big fish from the river.
BOURDAIN: Mulet Farci -- stuffed mullet. The fish deboned and filled with a seafood farce of fish, herbs, vegetables, and bread and baked.
BOURDAIN: It's an amazing meal. Delicious.
CAMARA: Amazing meal?
BOURDAIN: Yes, really good.
BOURDAIN: So, how are things in Senegal today?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How are things? What kind of things?
BOURDAIN: Is the environment good for business in Senegal now? Is it getting better? I mean, there seems to be a lot of money coming in Dakar. You see buildings going up, somebody's building. CAMARA: The key thing for me will be the development of, uh, business
and because when you look at all these young people in Saint-Louis and there is no companies to employ them. Let the young people take a big part of the power, which is not in our tradition, but we need the young people to be, to be strong.
[21:32:20] BOURDAIN: If you could compare yourself to someplace else in, in another major city in the world, the New York of West Africa?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The Hong Kong of West Africa.
BOURDAIN: Ah, oh, ouch.
Yes, you're, you're right.
[21:37:09] BOURDAIN: Money. You like it, I like it, we all like it, and there's a flood of green pouring into the developing world. Green-head foreign speculators for sure, but also entrepreneurs, often educated abroad but returning to build businesses around a growing middle class. Telecoms to financial institutions to the restaurants that grow up around them. Maquis were once neighborhood, working- class dive bars. Now many are becoming more respectable drinking establishments. The Brooklynization of Africa begins.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Cheers.
I join Pierre, his film producer's brother Christian Cham, and their friend Papa Madiaw Ndiaye, a local business man.
BOURDAIN: Who is joining the middle class in Senegal? Where are they coming from?
PAPA MADIAW NDIAYE, BUSINESSMAN: Most of the people are local people who now get proper training.
NDIAYE: And then you have a small group of guys like us who went abroad and are coming back.
BOURDAIN: Now, a phenomenon that I have seen in other countries in West Africa was one where people leave either because of war, oppression, necessity, financial, education. And when they come back, there is resentment. How do they feel about people like you who go and then come back?
NDIAYE: You know, unlike most other places over here, there's a tremendous amount of pride in your family. Senegalese rarely go and just cut off.
THIAM: Cut off, yes. It's true. No, that's true, but in addition to people who go, they send money back home.
CHRISTIAN CHAM, FILM PROFESSOR: There is more money coming from the immigrants than the money that we receive from the World Bank of IMF or anything like that.
BOURDAIN: Why is this the case in Senegal? Where does this attitude come from?
NDIAYE: It's just the nature of the social fabric. It's not an individual -- individualistic society.
BOURDAIN: What about the French colonial experience? Uh, that too, was it different than --
NDIAYE: Very different from Senegal to the other countries. Oh, it's drastically different because the French used Senegal as their out -- as, as their anchor for their colonial expansion. The French then said, "Okay, you Senegalese, we're going to train you up to, um, borderline high school education and you're going to be the forefront -- the fulcrum of our, um, of our administrative service." So, if you go to Cote d'Ivoire, you go to Burkina, a lot of the guys who are running the, the, this administration were Senegalese.
CHAM: I think one of the major differences between Senegal and the other countries, not that we're better or anything like that. But, in Senegal it's probably one of the only country in West Africa, probably in all Africa, where I can be from one a different ethnic group but we can talk without French using our local language and understand each other. Because everybody speaks Wolof.
NDIAYE: I, I'm -- I happen to believe that, um, this world is going to be a better place when more cultures are actually given a chance to be put at the table.
(DJILY BAGDAD PERFORMING)
DJILY BAGDAD, MUSICIAN: Each generation has its mission. We have a saying in Wolof, we say, "God is great." And, you always say where there is no solution, you say. And you leave it in the hand of God. But we, we tell people, "This is in our hand. This is our future and the future of the next generation coming."
BOURDAIN: As relatively good as things have been for Senegal democracy, as it turns out, requires regular maintenance, diligence needed, and the willingness to stand up. Djily Bagdad is a musician and activist who's doing what, well, the Last Poets and Chuck D. and others have done before him. Say things that are important, loudly and often. They call them "Dibiteries" and Dibi is generally grilled spiced lamb, hacked into pieces, and served on grease stained paper with grilled onions and mustard on the side.
BAGDAD: Wow! BOURDAIN: That was quick. From the beginning, I mean, was there
always this, like, a social justice, um, political component to what you were doing musically?
BAGDAD: From day one. The first thing we did was go do a campaign called "My Voting Card, My Weapon." And we did songs and we did mobile concerts all over the country to raise awareness and it was the bum rush in the various spots. Everybody went to register. That's, that's the step that's leaving us, you can see, that's the step into being conscious of what your power is.
[21:42:17] BOURDAIN: In 2012, then President Abdoulaye Wade fell victim to the "Maybe I Should Be President For Life" syndrome that afflicts so many of his neighbors. He proposed amending the constitution, so that he could run for a third term, as well as creating a new Vice Presidential position which many feared he intended for his son. Djily, and many, many young people like him, were having none of it. They formed a group called "Y'en A Marre," or "Fed Up." Using music as a draw and a hook they threw enormous rallies across the country, made aggressive and innovative use of social media, all in the cause of getting out the vote and shutting anti-Democratic initiatives down. It worked.
BAGDAD: I know that, like, with this specific movement that we started and raising awareness I think the African union of people can start from here because this is amazing. The new generation will learn from what we've done and maybe the next president might not be a politician at all. You never know.
BOURDAIN: Obvious question -- why don't you run for office?
BAGDAD: I don't know. I'm not, I'm not -- I'm not an aspiring politician, not at all. But I can see my help -- myself helpful for my community. We have everything to emerge. It's about believing in ourselves and trusting ourselves that we can do it.
[21:48:09] BOURDAIN: Lac Rose, known for its pink hue and salt harvesters, sits near the Segalese Coast and, not too long ago, was also the finish line for a legendary trans-African endurance race.
JEAN HAZARD (ph), PARIS-DAKAR RACER: You OK?
BOURDAIN: Yes, I'm great. No problem.
Driving up to 10,000 grueling kilometers from Paris, south through Spain, across Morocco, down the Western Sahara, all the way to, well, right here. The Paris-Dakar rally tested its drivers like no other race, sometimes driving over 20 hours a day over ground like this.
So, this is the same road the rally, Rally Dakar, took.
BOURDAIN: Jean Hazard (ph) is a Senegalese of Lebanese descent who grew up here watching the final stretch of the race. It was a galvanizing event for him. He has since completed the race himself, three times.
HAZARD: So, when I was young, I came with my parents to see the arrival of the Paris-Dakar race.
HAZARD: That's why I like to, to make races.
BOURDAIN: It's been eight years since specially modified, true off- road vehicles, with powerful engines and cutting edge designs, roared across the desert and through tiny African villages.
I, of course, had to try out one of these beasts and it's about much fun as you can have while wearing pants.
HAZARD: Like this. It's OK. You can put the three if you want.
HAZARD: Very good.
BOURDAIN: OK, where am I going?
HAZARD: Turn, turn. Nice, it's nice, Tony.
BOURDAIN: Just like this.
HAZARD: First time?
BOURDAIN: Good pace. Yes, it's like driving in snow, huh?
HAZARD: Yes, yes, yes.
BOURDAIN: After tear-assing around for a few hours, it's traditionally chicken and beer on the beach. We're joined by Jean's fellow Paris-Dakar racers -- Mame Lesse Diallo (ph) and Adbou Thiam (ph).
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My friend Mame Lesse made 12 times the Paris- Dakar.
BOURDAIN: Twelve times.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Twelve with bike.
BOURDAIN: Motor bike.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Motor bike.
BOURDAIN: On a motor bike?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
BOURDAIN: Wow. So, what happened? It stopped in, uh --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The last race was in '07, in '08, uh -- BOURDAIN: 2007?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. In, in, in 2008 we were at the start and we didn't start.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's right.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We didn't start.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They cancelled the, the race.
BOURDAIN: In 2008, officials shut the event down with racers from all over the world at the starting line. A response to the murder of four French citizens in Mauritania and to the discovery of potential terrorist threats against the race in the region. The race, now called the Dakar-Rally, was moved off the African continent and currently runs much of the length of South America.
BOURDAIN: But will, will it come back? What do you think?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Here in Senegal?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Never.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I hope so!
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Never.
BOURDAIN: Why? Why? Why never?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Because these people, when they leave, they did I not in a fair way.
BOURDAIN: So you think they don't deserve to have it back.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No.
BOURDAIN: But there's still, is there still racing here within the country? Within Senegal? I mean, you race.
HAZARD: We have, after South Africa, the second circuit in all over Africa. It's very, very, very, important for us, for Africa, and it's, uh, exceptional for us. How do you like the chicken? It's OK?
BOURDAIN: Oh, man. It's good. Are you kidding me? I'm hitting it hard. So, you told me before that if I wanted to, I could get in a car and drive to Saint-Louis.
HAZARD: Uh-huh, just --
BOURDAIN: That way.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That way.
HAZARD: That way.
BOURDAIN: How long will it take?
(SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: An hour and a half.
BOURDAIN: Let's go.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You're going to Saint-Louis?
BOURDAIN: Let me finish my chicken, then we'll go.
[21:56:47] BOURDAIN: Pierre Thiam's Aunt Marie is the matriarch of the family. She often hosts uncles, aunts, sons, and daughters, friends and relatives from near and abroad.
THIAM: Teranga is hospitality, that's the translation, but it's, it's, the, the most important value is really the way you treat the others. Love, you receive love. That's what Teranga is. So, today you are our guest so you'll be treated with our national dish.
BOURDAIN: Everyone comes together often over this iconic dish. Thiebou Jen, which in Wolof means, simply, "rice with fish." It's pretty much the national dish of Senegal. Today it's Senegalese grouper scored and stuffed with a mixture of garlic, parsley and peppers then slow simmered in a hearty tomato broth. Infused with a funkatizing goodness brought by fermented conch and salt fish. Served over rice and vegetables.
I'm going to watch you and I'm going to do what you do. That's good.
The meal is eaten from one communal platter, an experience both fun and instructive. Sustenance and life lesson.
Mmm. Oh, that's good. Oh, that sauce is awesome.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Normally children are not allowed to talk and to go too far in the middle of the plate.
BOURDAIN: So they go to eat around the edges?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So you, you will have an adult, the mother or an aunt or something, cutting pieces of fish or meat for them.
THIAM: It's a way to teach them to be content with their portion.
THIAM: You know? Not only children, but everyone, you have to imagine that, the triangle in front of you and that's the triangle that is your limit to the bowl.
THIAM: And you have to chew slowly, you have to be patient. So, all these values are taught when we eat around the bowl.
BOURDAIN: So, if I were looking for a metaphor for Senegalese society, this would be it?
THIAM: This is it. This is Senegalese society.
Senegal is a special country.
BOURDAIN: A few years back, I got the words, "I am certain of nothing" tattooed on my arm. Is what makes travel what it is, an endless learning curve, the joy of being wrong, of being confused. Africa, more than any other continent, needs to be seen by the world as both the place we all came from and where we are going.