23 February 2008


Friday - my last day in the Gambia

My first experience of Banjul market. The craft area is tucked away in a warren of stalls behind the main market street. The girls have done this before; Lauren and Frances take charge of negotiations and fetch us a keen price.

Pippa, Ian and the girls still have a packed programme of visiting over the next few days and it is with considerable sadness I cannot join them for this. We say our farewells and I get my final bits and pieces together while waiting for the transfer coach to the airport. The fundamental question, 230 dalasi left - is this enough to buy lunch? One toasted sandwich and a fanta later I'm down to 60 dalasi. I give a miserly 10 dalasi note to the bag loader on the coach keeping 50 dalasi for a bottle of water after immigration.

The plane is late arriving and I chat with several groups who have visited schools on trips organised by hotels or are doing something ad hoc to help. Several others have not stirred from the tourist ghetto.

We take off 75 minutes late. I am feeling very tried now; we touch down at about 23:30. I make the last train out of Gatwick with 7 minutes to spare and crash out at home after a shower at 01:50.

An amazing trip with amazing people. As a sign off from this Blog here is the only video I took to give you an idea of what Gambian roads are like. We are driving on just dirt track here - disintegrating tarmac is far worse...

My experience has been of many Gambians who are stoical, gracious and welcoming. It has been a privilege.


PS I find I have brought home one of the hotels very small hand towels (about 1 ft square). If you read this, FLR, please could you pay the hotel an appropriate sum for me and I will pay you back. Thanks, C <>< :-)

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