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A quiet day

Home -> Africa -> Gambia -> Travelogue Gambia -> 15 January 2005

Saturday 15 January, a quiet day

Having breakfast Berend and AgnesAfter a long and tiring day follows this rest day, without any obligations. We start quietly with our breakfast and talk a bit with Berend and Agnes since we have no rush. A good time to make some pictures of the hotel.
The swimming pool The swimming poolThe center of the hotel is the swimming pool and we suspect that some people make sure they have a chair in the morning by putting their towel on it at night. We know now that there are people here who never leave the premises of the hotel and we believe it, since we have seen so few toubabs (white men, as all foreigners are called) outside of the hotel.
Along the beachWe are met by Moses, our beachboy, when we walk onto the beach. It is as if he has been waiting for us, and he looks sad when we tell him that we are going to walk a bit. Fot him that means no tip. We walk southwards, toward the Senegambia hotel, but halfway down we see a nice spot where we stop at one of the beach restaurants. There is a bit of sun now and then and we unpack our towels.
Of course, many people addressed us on the way here, but the waiters of this pavilion are very active in sending merchants and beggars away. We have to pay 10 Dalasi for this service, less than the 25 Dalasi tip that we always give to Moses.
Well, there is not much more to tell about the hours that we spent on the beach, just reading and looking around us. But that doesn't mean we don't enjoy it, in contrary! Sometimes even the sun comes through the clouds of sand and dust. We had expected it to be very sunney everyday, but this phenomenon seems to be normal in January. It even has a name: the Harmattan, a warm wind that comes from the Sahara taking along tons of desert sand. Until now we have had only a few days with only a few hours of sun.
At the end of the afternoon we walk further on the beach to the Senegambia hotel where we first sit down for a coffee: the Senegambia is known as one of the better hotels in The Gambia and since they serve cappucino, I trust it is a real one, better than the nescafe in all other places. The waiter brings a nice cup with a white head, it looks like whipped cream. But after a few seconds it has totally flattened and I taste that it is just nescafe, a very weak cup of coffee. I like my coffee very strong, so these 100 Dalasi (€ 2,75) is totally wasted on me!
Notice in a shopWhen we walk through the grounds of the Senegambia we think it is a bit like Badala, just bigger. Maybe the rooms are more luxurious, with airco and better chairs, but the principle is the same: a complex with apartments. But outside the hotel is a sort of tourist center with lots of restaurants and shops and that is something we miss at our place. You have to take a taxi to go somewhere outside the hotel, since there is nothing in the neighbourhood. Or you have to walk for 4 or 5 kilometers.
DinnerSo we have dinner at one of the restaurants and we have a good view on the street. It is very lively here with many hustlers and also a lot of very modern and new cars. We haven't seen so many good-looking cars like here. Whenever the government decides to introduce an obligatory motor vehicle inspection, 90% of the cars will probably be declared not good enough.
Behind us a Gambian merchant tells a convincing story why the Rolexes he sells are real and yet cost only € 10 a piece. The toerists he is talking seem to believe him, or are not bothered by the fact that they are just fake, since they buy a few ones. When he walks away after 20 minutes he has still at least 50 watches dangling from his arms. Probably they sell, but we can't understand that people really buy this stuff.
We take a cab back to the hotel where we pay a visit to Berend and Agnes. We bring along a few cold beers and soft drinks from the gas station. Berend has had a considerable drink of the jungle juice and feels a bit strange since then. The boys who offered it to him had told him that he could become a bit tired and that was totally true, he has slept for hours in the afternoon, which he never does. The drink was for free, but in excgange they wanted them to buy a bag of rice for their families. But a bag of rice is 50 kilo's and costs about 450 Dalasi (€ 12,50). So they got a vehement argument with these boys, but they didn't buy the rice.
Suddenly, Salifu comes to the porch to greet us. He is transferred again to our hotel, but the reason why is a bit unclear, he tells several stories. We tell him that we are glad that he is back, but that we don't feel like chatting today. Tomorrow we (well, Teije mainly, after all it is his friend) will come and sit with him for some time. We go to our room to read a bit more and enjoy the agreeable warmth of the evening. It is good to have a quiet day like today, after the tiresome excursion yesterday.


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