Tuesday, January 22, 2008
Adventure in The Gambia
After a six hour flight we were in Gambia International Airport.
A tall gentleman greeted us at the plane exit steps, he was to assist me through the airport. His assistance was very much appreciated, as the airport was absolute chaos, with holiday makers clambering for their luggage.
We made our way to the coach that was taking us to our apartment/hotel, Holiday Beach in Kololi. Our two bedroomed, ground floor, apartment was a very short walk to the beach and just in front of the swimming pool. (day time temperatures 28-32 degrees- HOT!!!).
There were plenty of places to eat on the Serragambia “strip” (once you run the gauntlet of “Bumsters” with their verbal hassling). Every type of cuisine can be found. This short street is very busy and chaotic. (The driving is very nerve racking!!!) cattle and people all over the road. Tarmac roads are very rare, majority of roads are sand and very very rough.
I was prepared to do some walking, but I ended up leaving the chair behind, as accessibility, in Gambia, is NOT provided for.
Next day, we were met by our guide Lamin Fatty, the gentleman from the airport.
He took us to Banjul – Arch 22, A Huge, Cream coloured, monument on Independence Drive, an amazing place to view the city.
Kachikally Crocodile Lagoon, where we were able to touch a Crocodile (A SCARY moment).
He also took us to a Abuko Nature reserve. Where we saw the diverse flora and fauna.
Introduced us to a small school – Alhaji Mamoir Secca Memorial Nursery/Lower Basic School. Where the children were thrilled to meet us and happy to show us their progress.
We all see pictures, on the TV (or other media) but the poor conditions, that they learn in and LIVE in, are a SHOCK when you see them “First Hand”.
He took us to the family compound, for a Traditional African meal and meet his relatives, and then to drink “Attaya” (China Green Tea) with his friends.
We visited a Reptile Centre, where we held snakes !!!!.
Also went to a Fishing village (where Smoked fish, were laid out on HUGE racks). All where very interesting and educating (and “eye opening”)
Near the end of our stay, he took us to buy some souvenirs, from some locals.
The highlight was returning to the family compound, for a meal and returning to the friends, to drink “Attaya” it was here that I showed children to make paper aeroplanes and spell “Alan” in the sand, which they were so grateful, The “Thankful” expressions on their faces, was delightful and very moving. These memories will stay with me forever.
When the time came to leave for the airport, we said our goodbyes, to hotel staff and friends that we made.
At the airport, Lamin, was waiting for us to get off the coach, and take us through the terminal, and wait for our plane. A three hour wait, Lamin stayed with us all the time, and made sure we were on the plane, and my wheelchair was stowed, with the cargo.
I would encourage any “Budding Globetrotters” to visit The Gambia.
Also I would like to express our gratitude and THANKS to Lamin Fatty – Ground Operator - Gambia International Airport, for his excellent service and attention in making our holiday, a very special time with great memories.
It was very emotional to leave such friendly people, behind.
We will be returning soon !!.
I will be posting reviews on tripadvisor http://www.tripadvisor.com/
Alans Adventures at www.llanboidy.com
photos on flickr http://www.flickr.com/photos/alanroygbiv/
videos on youtube http://www.youtube.com/profile?user=alanroygbiv