I didn’t know I could be tempted to do some exercise when I’m already soaking wet from the heat. On the other side, it couldn’t have been that I didn’t. It all started when we arrived at the camp. There would be no electricity whenever wherever so as soon as it started to get dark, some (read: about a hundred) oil lamps were put on and were scattered around the place. Don’t ask me why we still saw light bulbs at the main area. It’s probably not amusing enough for the tourists so they just don’t use the power. All the same, it was indeed fun. Luckily we didn’t have too much mosquitos when enjoying our romantic big family dinner by candlelight. After chatting and eating and also extremely hoping the guy behind us would either tune his instrument better or at least stop singing, we were led to a camp fire.
The people heated their drums near the flames and started drumming. The rest of them started dancing or I think they call it dancing. Fully aware of the ridiculous moves we actually do back at home at clubs, this was well, let’s call it interesting. The freakier you can imagine the better. Nothing too weird, no one being ashamed. Apart from all of us sitting and watching them of course. Vicarious shame, all over. After a couple of songs we had to join them, obviously. The first time was weird but after a turn and walking back, they knew where to find me. I think I ended up going dancing about 8 times and by the time of the last song, my clothes needed me to reconsider a new definition of being soaked.
Therefore, a new definition of sticky too, again. Perhaps I’ll complain in London but right now I’d like a bit of normal. At least a normal in which shower doesn’t need new definitions or rather, an invention of it. All the same, tired and sweaty galore we were ready to sleep. Only to find out that having no windows, instead jut big square holes in the walls, isn’t that great when you’re expecting heavy rains. The wind had blown my mosquito net to a shape it shouldn’t have, and I feared the rain would follow soon after. Some improvising of screens later, I dared to close my eyes and lay down to realise the bed was trying to suck me in and swallow me whole. My pillow though, was made of wood. Nonetheless, I’m thinking this was actually one of my best nights sleeping so far. Interrupted by a modern version of a wakeup call also known as tens of monkeys screaming and a seriously cold shower but still, pretty good.
It’s hot, I long for that cold shower back. The first thing that I’m going to do when I get to the hotel is change and jump in the swimming pool. No, that’s probably not true. Big chance I’ll try to convince the parents that we need air conditioning and check my phone. If all is well, there will be Wi-Fi. I haven’t really missed it but I’m addicted enough to be immensely curious about mail and other stuff. Not that it would be anything other than spam. Spam is nice. Getting 6 useless mails per day makes me feel like I have friends. Great feeling. Now back to Gambia.
We had breakfast whilst making sure the monkeys wouldn’t steal it. They had peanut butter and Choco pasta but I’m not ready for Holland yet. After breakfast we went back on the boat, on the bus and on a ferry. Last one was after having had lunch in a place, walking round the market there after delicious mangos and buying cloths for back home. Right now we’re in the bus again without proper road beneath us. I hope I can still read what I just wrote ‘cause bumps don’t exactly brighten my writing skills. Looks funny though.
I’m home. Home enough. I’m in a place with constant electricity, a bed in which I’ll stay for more than one day and a room whose bathroom has a door. Don’t get me wrong, it was adventurous in the dark, even more so to travel. A curtain functioning as door is okay but last night we didn’t even have a curtain and that’s too much, or rather too little. The bed isn’t great and the pillow thick but I’m not going to complain. After all, I’m a sixteen year old girl who radiates the fat that she can dance and is nowhere on the scale of normal, if I must believe Baba. Assan said 15 but all right. Let’s just leave it at inadequacy of people to guess the age of different races.
On our way here, we saw the stone circles of Senegambia, and weren’t disappointed. I thought it would be more like Stonehenge where you would look, take one picture and leave again, or at least, that’s how we did it. No, these were much more stones, much smaller too but you could actually go up there and see for yourself how they look and what they are. The huge pillars for kings, the middle ones for soldiers and the smaller ones in circles were mass graves for the common people. We walked round and found the circle that was used as an image on the 50 Dalasi bill. On every stone (traditionally carved by girls and brought by men) there were tens of little stones placed on top. We were told that long ago a light would sometimes appear here and nobody knew what and where it was exactly. People started believing this to be a holy place and lay down tones on top of the pillars, the stones acting as embodiment of a wish. Of course, I found myself one and placed it on one of them too. Can’t hurt to wish a little right?
We also encountered the president, or rather the bus he was in and all the military men of The Gambia that he could find. Too bad you can’t take pictures of men in uniform and official buildings and such like this. At least they don’t think I’m a spy right now.
The first day here I was amazed by the fact they call these things cities. Now I’ve seen their definition of a town, I understand. This is indeed a city. I just still don’t see how. There are no real centres. The houses, markets etc. come and go, no church or rather mosque to mark the middle, no real layers of neighbourhoods or something of that kind. But I don’t really care about that, as long as it has great things to do.