[ Serrekunda, The Gambia ]
It’s probably premature, but I love The Gambia. Yeah yeah. I know. I love everywhere I find myself, somehow or another. Totally predictable, I know. And The Gambia is admittedly a tough act. It’s a bit more in your face than Senegal–more politically fraught and, well, let’s just say that outsiders are more likely to get an earful here, and the hard sell. Fine.
One cyclist I rode with back in the Sahara told me (just yesterday, via social media) that The Gambia simply isn’t as wonderful as Senegal or Guinea-Bissau; the people aren’t as nice. There’s always a hustle, an angle, or a scam. But this POV doesn’t work for me. Ever, if I’m being honest. I believe it’s always, without exception, MY responsibility to figure out what’s going on and to find a way “in.” I don’t look for places I like; I believe the opposite: it is my challenge to like the places where I find myself. If I don’t like it, I don’t understand it yet.
It’s that simple.
I’ll admit that The Gambia is harder than Senegal; I knew it as soon as I crossed the border. But so what? The people I have taken time to engage with have been as amazing as ever. And so, just by way of introduction, I’m sharing a few images from yesterday.
At lunchtime I hopped on the bike and rode to a little restaurant called Fast Ali’s (highly recommended)–with the best shawarma sandwiches I’ve had in years. No BS. It was miles out of my way, but hey, a good shawarma is worth it, right? This ride gave me an opportunity to take some pics. The first set? From a group of who work all day, every day, just outside my door. These guys build djembes. Really nice djembes. I’ve been talking to them since I arrived, and watching them carve the wood, shave the goatskins, paint the shells, string the heads, and otherwise prepare their drums for sale (and performance).
The other opportunity arose when I got lost on the way back home. As ever, I took an unknown route home (why take the same road twice?), and I got lost. I soon found myself in the city’s central market–crowded despite it being the second day of Ramadan.
Enjoy (or not),