[ Serrekunda, The Gambia ]
Today’s ostensible itinerary had two easy-to-follow steps:
(1) Pick up my visa from the Guinea-Bissau Consulate
(2) Hit the road
I succeeded easily with #1, but #2 morphed into “Ride lazily around town all day; play in traffic; chat with everyone you meet; wait at least another day before departing Banjul/Serrekunda”
Having the visa in my hot little hands was just too exciting, so I went to Fast Ali’s for their inimitable chicken shawarma sandwich and a real espresso (there’s only so much Nescafe a self-respecting cyclist can drink). After that, there was nothing else to be done except to ride–again–through the city’s central market area, this time at peak shopping hour. Perhaps this sounds tame, but it isn’t. It involves a three-plus kilometer ride down the center lines, between two lanes of We-Don’t-Value-Your-Life traffic. I don’t know how to explain my love of these sorts of death-defying, quasi-suicidal rides except to say it’s a special kind of energy.
After that, I spent part of the afternoon with my djembe-maker friends discussing politics, and another part sitting under a shade tree with a bunch of quasi-Rastafarian Sufi men who run one of the many roadside car washes. While one of them power-washed my bike until it gleamed (for about $1.25US), another gave a long disquisition on the great Sufi Muslim cleric Aamadu Bàmba Mbàkke, the founder of the Mouride brotherhood. The amount of green, leafy substance they were imbibing may be at least partially to blame for the rambling and scarcely coherent nature of the man’s narrative. I’m just sayin’…
With all of this moseying about, I took a photo or two and decided to post ’em. After this it may be a while before I have another opportunity.