When Glyn and Sharon visited back in January I dropped into the Gambian driving license office in Brikama to see if this years license was ready yet – Gambian licenses have to be renewed yearly.
When Glyn and Sharon returned towards the end of November, I dropped in to the Gambian driving license office in Brikama to see if this years license was ready yet. After countless visits, it was finally passed over, exactly one month before it will expire and I start the whole rigmarole again. That is if I bother. Kermit’s probably going to need a new engine and I’m not sure whether I’ll bother.
Glyn and Sharon, from the depths of Cornwall, had loved Abene so much they were returning less than a year later. And they’ve already booked to come back in January – I can’t get rid of ‘em. At this rate they may beat the blogs I’m trying to churn out about our trip. Easy going, funny and happy (I have to say this to keep them coming…:)) to chill out with the family, they are a joy to be around and it’s always great to receive back familiar faces who love the place.
They spent a pleasant relaxing week around Abene before we made a trip to Dakar and the north. On the first Saturday of December, I’d been invited by Chez Alpha bookshop in Dakar to promote my new book at the monthly Lou Bess farmers market. When I proposed to Glyn and Sharon that they come with me, they jumped at the chance and it turned into a roundtrip visiting other spots.
We made pizzas:
Khady made food for the local kids:
Before anything, I had to get copies of the new book which arrived the day after I’d picked G&S up at the airport. On the day before the Gambian elections, I made a mad dash across the country, picked them up and headed back wondering all the time if the border would be closed and whether I would in fact make it. I did, just before all communications with the outside world were stopped by the dictator.
The next day we took a car down to Ziguinchor, arriving just in time to take the ferry to Dakar. I’m going to skip that bit for now as I’m writing a separate post about that journey.
We were woken at about 6am and I looked out of our cabin porthole to see cranes and so on at the port in Dakar. Wearily and groggily we gathered our bits and bobs and wandered up to Independence Square and a cafe that I’ve frequented before, for coffees and a continental breakfast.
Once a more agreeable hour was reached, we dropped my things off at my friend Vero’s apartment where I was staying and then spent an hour or so searching for the Airbnb place I’d booked for them. Then we wandered through the downtown area and met Vero for lunch at the French institute.
We spent the rest of the day wandering about, having the odd drink and soaking up the city vibes. In the evening we ended up at the slightly dubious Viking bar, full of unsavoury sailor types and ladies of the night, where we enjoyed a few draught beers whilst trying not to purchase more than we bargained for. Perhaps the highlight was when Glyn, who is often compared to a 70s/80s singer (and …big clue…drummer) who, like Voldemort, shall not be named on these pages. As we were laughing about that, the house band launched into a familiar refrain: “Da, da, da, da, da…da, da, da, da…” (clue: check the blog title).
On Saturday I made my way to the farmers market at a new site near Ngor beach. Various producers from nationwide were selling their goods and promoting various causes. To be honest, though you may not notice from reading the blog, I’m pretty shy and find the whole idea of promoting myself in person quite painful. Thankfully the Chez Alpha girls had no such qualms and handed out flyers and introduced me to the passers by.
I met the mother of an email pen pal (we’ve been exchanging letters about Senegalese spiritual matters for a novel she’s writing), a buddy from the Gambia who was escaping the elections, several people who’d bought my first book (and told me they loved it) and new friends.
Glyn, Sharon and Vero passed by and then at 4pm, we went back to the African renaissance monument.
More of which later…