And a blazing heat it was. Just almost the same microwave I create back home with my own little ecobubble. 28 degrees celcius, just fine. Not to mention the bare springthings in my mattress and the lovely neighbours but for the rest, lovely place. Waking up to the sound of the ocean, palm trees creating a spectacular morning view from the window and hopefully more food for breakfast than the ¼ slice of bread, equivalent of meat and fruit, though a mountain of butter. Not that I'm hungry, but I'll see what this Sunset Beach Hotel has to offer.
Loekie is lui, zegt Rens. Rens zat in de bus te slapen. Apparently those two facts matter most to my brothers. Nothing about the rest of the day.
Breakfast was good, pancakes and muesli and fried potatoes with onions. I could get used to eating that by the seaside. After finishing my cup of tea I went back to pack some bring along stuff and there we went. First to the only place to get Senegalese money, although I expected it to be slightly more than the little square room it was. Unfortunately that was changing only so right now mom and dad are driving to the only place in Gambia where you can use a MasterCard. I didn't expect luxury or many five star hotels in an African country with only about 1.5 million people but still. After having tasted the first sun of the country, we went to the biggest batik factory of the whole Gambia. Note to self: biggest doesn't mean big, it could as well mean two men behind a building covering cloths with candlewax and claiming to be a factory. Nonetheless, the cloths were absolutely beautiful, as well as the tie and dye pieces of the women.
Bargained our way to a nice African dress and so one of my souvenir goals has been achieved. On the road we encountered many people waving and smiling in front of what I can only describe as brick layers of stone, sand and sometimes paint pretending to be houses standing in fields of dry reddish dust pretending to be roads whilst only serving as a huge dumping place slash football field for the children. I knew the pictures of such places yet never actually imagined it to be everywhere we go. There are no slumps, not really. Everything is just as bad as the one next to it and it goes on and on. Remarkably the girls and women here dress as if every day is prom day. Colourful dresses, extreme mixing and (mis)matching but most of al, great to look at.
We arrived at a sacred crocodile pool where many women come for fertility rituals. Before meeting the crocodiles we visited a small museum about some masks, musical instruments and other things related to each different tribe's history and culture. As we walked towards this museum, we were accompanied by lots of cute kids grasping our hands and chatting in unknown languages. I talked a while to Tida, or Tadi, a 15 year old girl in a colourful beautiful dress who is in grade 6 of school and has an older sister who is 20. I'm still amazed by the level of English many of the kids have regarding their backgrounds and their parents with slightly less yet still good language skills. Unfortunately we had to say goodbye to them and their village without sewers so having those middle ages idea of a sewer system and went back to the bus.
We visited the great market of Serrekunda or Bakau, one of the two. We went in and out so quickly I haven't even made one picture but I hope I'll never forget the sight of fish, herbs, clothes, food and anything you can think of crammed onto each other, combined with hundreds of people trying to either pass you or wave away the flies and heat from their market stand. Obviously we lost our guide on the way and had to wait there in the sun/shadow for a while before returning to aircoheaven.
At last we had lunch and mango after, near the beach. Great great fruit as it should be, ripened in the sun or at least I think and oh so delicious. The couscous and bread was allright too as I love understatements. Something what seemed like 1.5 hour of countless repetitions of information about our trip later, we headed to a new bus, as the old had apparently broken down, to our hotel. And that's where we've been until now, lying on our beds soaking in the heat and stickiness of a foreign country whilst listening to the sounds of the wind and the ocean, and an occasional tourist screaming as if he's being skinned alive. I hope he's alright, though I doubt his friends want to go and check that.
How little it takes to get free souvenirs. A couple of nods, smiles and short answers and you've found yourself a rather nice new bracelet. After being absolutely clear about not having money and a few nice smiles, I received the gift not from a ruthless man who needs money but as a gift from the heart for a friendly girl who unlike others, is willing to chat. Not my words. In other words though, my father has been asked for how many camels I could be bought. I don’t know whether I’m subconsciously flirting to get my way or genuinely friendly to a rather stupid and hopeful audience but Dutch as I can be, I don’t mind. It only cost me a walk back to the entrance of my hotel, taking a picture and writing my name in the sand for the friendly Moses. What I am though, is slightly afraid to go back to the beach after having declined the romantic evening walk with said guy. The main reason I’m writing this is an otherwise empty hotel room instead of swimming with my brothers. Not that I don’t prefer reading another chapter of Game of Thrones anyway.