Tuesday, 17 April 2012

As in true Gambian style, well perhaps that’s a bit unfair, our trip to Banjul for our resident permits was cancelled at the last minute as the immigrations department had not received the vouchers from finance for us!! So another trip to the kombos beckons in the not too distant future.

However, Gambia has gone Taiwan crazy in the kombos. Gambian and Taiwanese flags strung up to every lamp post and cross roads. Pictures of President Jammeh and President Ma also attached to aforesaid lamp posts. Billboards welcoming President Ma to The Gambia prominently displayed along the main routes from the airport. You may wonder what this is all about. Well, President Ma made a state visit to The Gambia last week. Taiwan are investing millions, if not billions, into The Gambia and funding all sorts of educational and various other projects. One of which some VSO volunteers are working on, but that’s a whole other fiasco...sorry, story! I just happened to come out of a cafe onto Kairaba Avenue, think Great Western Road and you get the idea how busy it is, at 5pm to find it deserted. The road had been closed to traffic with police and army lining the street and telling people to keep back. Soon enough President Jammeh passed by accompanied by President Ma, standing up through the sun roof waving to those watching in the street. It took several minutes for the convoy to pass by. First we had the secret service, through whose open doors I glimpsed some AK47s lying on the back seat. Then came the press cars, fit to burst with TV cameras and photographers, followed by motorcycle outriders with President Jammeh behind. I got it on video, but it’s blink or miss it stuff. Look out for him dressed in his obligatory white! After the presidential convoy, came gellis full of APRC t-shirted occupants. I think every gelli in the kombos had been hired out just to follow him. The procession of these gellis must have lasted at least 5 minutes if not more.  It was quite a sight...not sure I could see many buses following Cameron on a state visit! Quite enough excitement for one day I think!

Now I am back to the hot of Basse....and boy is it hot up here! I left Banjul on the first ferry at 7am and got straight into a sept-plas at Barra.........7 hours later I arrived in Basse! The exciting news is that the tarmac road has now reached Basse, you’re not allowed to drive on it yet....but it’s come!!! No more bone rattling, head knocking dirt roads to contend with soon!

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