For you Anglophones out there, I have to clarify that “7 places” is not a metaphor for seven places I have been or seven places you should visit before you die, but is in fact a type of transport. A Peugot 505 to be precise — better know to the Senegalese as the best way to get around if you want to go long distances in the country.
As an American, I don’t have much experience with Peugots so when I first read about this intriguing form of transport, I pictured in my mind a jeep-like vehicle that could comfortable fit 7 people and all their luggage. Needless to say, I was a little off.
Imagine instead a small station wagon, the trunk having been cut in half to allow for another row of seats. The driver is, of course in the front along with one lucky (this term is debatable considering that most of the 7-places have windshields so broken they look as if the smallest breeze might cause them to collapse completely into your lap) person sitting shotgun. Three people then go shoulder to shoulder in the middle, and the unfortunate remaining 3 (again debatable because you have to wait for all 7 places to fill before departing so these people have the shortest wait) people get to nuzzle into a tiny bench placed just high enough that anyone over 5’5” needs to slouch to keep their head out of the ceiling. (Luckily I am only 5’2”)
Add a goat, some creepy looking fruit (that is my official name for them), no A/C, and an immensely potholed road, and you have a cultural experience that everyone visiting Senegal must partake in at least once. Although, once might be enough.