Landed safely in Africa, Let the fun begin!

6 05 2011

Wow. What a day.  13 hours of flights, 7 hours of hanging out in airports, a car ride and we’re finally here! The flights were pretty standard; watched 3 movies from Toronto to Brussels and then on the second flight to The Gambia we were blessed with a 6 hours feature presentation that I liked to call ‘the screaming of an angry baby’. Not the most ideal conditions to squeeze some sleep in, but at that point I took what I could get (about an hour, tops).

It hit me when we were descending towards the Banjul Airport and I could actually see the River Gambia. The country that looked so small on the map suddenly grew vast as we approached. After landing at the tiny Banjul International Airport (tiny in comparison to Pearson Int. Airport I guess…) things got real Gambian, real fast. We were met by our Gambian contact at the airport and packed into his 80’s Land Rover complete with one side view mirror, a malfunctioning speedometer and shocks that had seen better days. From here we took off to Fajara (a small, relatively developed village we are staying in by the coast) which was about a bumpy 15 minute drive from the airport. We found out very quickly that the rules of the road here aren’t the same as in Canada. First of all, almost every car is at least 10 years old and people honk like it’s their day job.  Gambians honk for absolutely everything, it was not a problem that the radio in our car was long gone as we were serenaded with a symphony of beeps and toots during the entire trip. Another thing I noticed quickly was the amount of bikers and people walking on the edge of the road. When I say ‘edge of the road’, that is exactly what I mean. The main road we were on is paved but there are no shoulders what so ever. You can imagine the yelp I let out when we approached oncoming traffic while passing a biker for the first time. Nonetheless, the locals seemed to be used to this terrifying driving scenario and although I was holding my breath during every pass, there were no collisions…not today at least. You might be wondering, as I was for a second, why these cyclists don’t bike beside the road. Well this is because the sides of the road aren’t any safer. Just as the pavement stops (has broken off) there is just dirt/sand which either has massive holes or it is covered with garbage. With just one look at the side of the road it wasn’t hard to see that this area has a serious garbage problem. There is garbage littered everywhere, I even saw a woman walking out of her house with a garbage container, dump its contents beside the road and just walk back inside. Pretty crazy.

Shortly after, we arrived at the Sunbird Lodge which we will call home for the time being. This place is owned by an English man and his mother and is about a 3 minute walk from the beach. We each have our own room which is equipped with a bed, bathroom, kitchen (with fridge), wireless internet and has mango trees surrounding the outside. Yup, we’re roughin’ it here in Africa.

And just as I finished typing the above paragraph, the power went out for the night and most of day 2. As a result this is posted a day later than I would have liked, better late than never though!

Thanks for reading, I hope it wasn’t too long and boring… but since it was my first post from Gambia, I wanted to include as much as I could!

Ps. I also found out quickly that JulBrew, the local beer, is 25 Dalasi (28 Dalasi = 1 USD)… Uh oh!




8 responses

6 05 2011

Iezzi you’re the man

6 05 2011

“things got real Gambian, real fast.” you so funny Iezzi! Glad you made it safely, have funnn, climb a mango tree!

7 05 2011
Natalie Quinlan

Soak up every minute, and be safe too!! Thinking of ya Iezzi!

7 05 2011


8 05 2011
John Sr.

Good Stuff Son!. You’ve turned into quite the writer.
Enjoy..when’s your first Julbrew kegger?

10 05 2011
Spencer Weber

We got Malawi beer, Chambula, or “shake shake”. It is 85MK for a small milk carton. Yes it comes in a milk carton container. Oh, and did I mention that its about 60 cents Canadian? World finest.

Loved the descriptions in your post man, felt like I was there with ya.

12 05 2011
Jeff Day

Have you found a Gambian wife yet ?
Cheers JT !!

12 05 2011
Uncle Bob

I’m enjoying the blog and photos…..
Your Dad didn’t say it so I feel compelled to do so…….
Stay Thirsty my Friend, Stay Thirsty!

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