Well it took me a while but I was finally able to get onto the Internet once I finally left the Gambia as they apparently had a nationwide cyber-blackout for a few days, or so they say! However, The Gambia, yes the official name of the country does include the word THE in it-is a pretty cool place wedged right inside of Senegal. It is probably the most laid back place humanly possible as nobody does anything and you have absolutely no motivation to do much as well except for relaxing on the long beautiful beaches. When in fact, even if you wanted to do something else, you couldn’t because there is nothing else to do, haha. In all seriousness, The Gambia is a great place to relax for a few days-just try to avoid all the token drunk Brits on package tour holidays!
I stayed in a decent place called Banjul, which is the capital city, if you want to call it that as it is three times smaller than its next door sister city called Serrakunda. The name of the hotel was the Corinthia Atlantic. It was located on the outskirts of the city and had its own beach. It was also home to a big compulsory New Years fiesta featuring Michael Jackson and Elvis performances, scenes from a delivery room and some scenes that I still have no idea what they were about. But the Gambians put on a fine show and a good time was had by all. Especially the Brits who got hammered as usual and ended up drunk in the pool. However, that was to be expected and order was restored to the world for 2009.
New Years day was spent sleeping off New Years eve, relaxing at the pool and then heading out to the Atlantic resorts that is the center of the Gambian tourist experience. This was actually really cool because it wasn’t like Cyprus or something where they just completely cater to British package tours, it was real and had a lot local flavor. The reggae bands were very good and the people made it a great night along Kofi Annan Street which is named after the former Secretary General because he worked there for years.
The Gambians are the nicest people collectively I have come across in Africa. They are not aggressive at all and there are minimal hassles even with the large amount of European tourists to provoke them. I also promised the owner of the Italian Connection restaurant in Bakau that I would mention his restaurant on my site as the food was very good and certainly the most authentic Italian in the Gambia-you guessed it, he was Italian and did them proud.
That’s pretty much it for the Gambia. Bring sunscreen, mosquito repellent because it’s brutal and some patience because everything moves very slowly. Also, a very important piece of advice…when traveling by green taxi, make sure you look at the condition of the car and if they have a spare tire. Additionally, the gas gauges don’t work on any of the cars so don’t freak out and finally, make sure their lights work. My taxi the last night broke down with a flat and nearly killed us as he ran off the road as his lights didn’t work. I had to basically steer him from the back seat but hey, this is Africa and that’s part of the adventure which is currently continuing in a country called Guinea-Bissau. By the way, I didn’t get deported and was able to get a visa at the airport! More on that next entry…