domenica 22 gennaio 2012

Wow Gambia

yesterday we visited Banjul, the small capital where the Govern house is located. As usual there were lot of soldiers around and some of them were controlling the download of soybean oil containers, later I discovered that strangely enough Gambia has abandoned to use and produce the peanut or sunflower oil. If Senegal is producing very very little of what it uses, Gambia is at the nearly nothing level despite it has a very green and fertile soil (for example we bought Morocco mandarin at 3 euro per kilo, which is much more expensive than in Italy)where we can see lot of cabbage, salad and other vegetable to be cultivated. As soon as we dropped off the van a young Gambian guy, Alpha, approached us and asked us to be our official guide, well despite I was quite suspicious, I understood that once more Ale took the right decision in letting him help us for little money and the promise of some more future clients. He showed us the little market, the colourful fruit and vegetables stalls, the awful smelling meat rooms (I would dare you eating meat coming from here..), the few small fishes. He was really brave to bargain, convince and sometimes help me steal some good shots during our visit. Especially I enjoyed the sight of the many fishes salt-dried on the beach and mainly ready to be sold in Ghana where they are a national meal. We met fishermen repairing or building new boats, other sewing new nets and finally we got into the smoking beach where lot of medium size fishes were processed (boiled, cleaned, scales removed and smoked) in order to become smoked fish ready to be sold on the street or sold abroad. The place seemed a dark, smoky and rusty colonial factory the beach. Everybody seemed to know and respect our guide but even so we had to be fast with these poor people who were doing a very tiring job for very little money. We finished our visit with a decent meal (food is not a topic in Gambia in my opinion)in a Libanese restaurant.WE returned to Lamin house and had a cold shower and a couple of hours relax, talked with Lamin and some friends who all had voted for the president although noone of them seemed to like the economical situation of their country. Eating, transport, services are quite expensive in Gambia and are tailored with the Tourists needs. In other words tourism seems to be the only part of Gambian economy that works quite well. The night we went to Senegambia where we entered Tottis and then Wow disco. I enjoyed a lot the loud music and the mix of people inside. There was a incredible number of Afrina girls inside and soon I discovered that most of them were coming from Nigeria, Sierra Leone or Ghana (a kind of language brotherhood allow them to have a try in Gambia) but also from The French Guinea. All of them smoking, drinking and searching for..a good client. There were also lot of African men dressed in a rasta or rapper style, enjoying the music or searching also for their chance to a better life in fact I was not the only Toubab inside. I am not a psotitute fan but I do love the energy and the variety of these places, I spent the evening chatting with Maria, a lovely 24yo Gambian girl, who worked in a Coiffeuse Salon and spending the night in the hope to meet her Blue Prince.She was extremely disappointed when we announced her we were going to bed but I promised I would have called her the following day. During the evening there were several gulf of cold winds, as the previous night and I could not understand how was it possible to suffer from cold weather in West Africa. Maybe 18 degrees can sound as a ridicoulous cold but when the temperature drops of 6-8 degrees in a few hours you do feel it really unconfortable. The tin roof and doors of Lamin house (no glass in its windows) gave us small protection and although I was sleeping wearing shorts, shirt and socks, once more I woke up with a freezing feeling.  Cold in West God!
Getting connected in Gambia requires  an Inshallah pray more than technical trust, considering that not so rarely part of this country are without electricity, without any explanation or advance planning.

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