Wednesday 23 November 2022
One of the old man’s feubles is that when it’s cold he complains bitterly about the cold and turns the heating right up. But go somewhere warm, and the first thing he does is crank the A/C up to Ice Station Zebra Mode. So although it’s a balmy 29 degrees outside, I have to get up in the night and add some extra layers of clothing.
In the morning we awake to a very stiff breeze; it’s almost like being back in Bournemouth. Apart from the temperature. And the monkeys.
We head for the breakfast buffet for some proper food after yesterday’s dinner which consisted solely of mini cheddars. The man at the next table makes the mistake of choosing a banana. Monkeys appear from every direction as if activated by some sort of banana detector.
As we arrived after dark, this is our first chance to explore our surroundings. We paid extra for a sea view, which wasn’t readily apparent yesterday, but we are, in fact, only 100 metres from the sea. We take a walk along the beach, before the old man goes off to book himself a day trip to Senegal.
I shall not be joining him because (a) I don’t have the necessary 3 months remaining on my passport, (b) it involves a ferry crossing and I hate ferries in general and massively overloaded third world ferries in particular and (c) we chose this hotel for its pool and that is where I intend to hang out. Not literally of course, but you never know…
Once my not insubstantial breakfast is digested, I make my way to the aforementioned pool.
After a refreshing swim, a little added bonus; aqua aerobics. I haven’t done aqua aerobics since pre lockdown when my gym closed and didn’t reintroduce aqua when it reopened, so that was fun. Although I could have down without being spun around in a circle so soon after breakfast!
The old man gets bored and goes for a wander, locating a mini mart with a super fierce fridge – no more warm beer (or karaoke) for us. Unlike most of our trips, which are a frenetic series of sightseeing activities, we spend the afternoon on our sea view patio relaxing and drinking cold beer.
A man comes to water the grass in front of our room, which causes hundreds of butterflies to descend, which is an amazing, if somewhat unphotographable, sight.
We appear to be pretty much the only people at our rather remote, beginning of the season, hotel who have not opted for the all inclusive package. Undeterred, we set forth to find a local restaurant for dinner. We don’t have to venture far to reach the Calypso Bar, which boasts dinner overlooking a crocodile pool.
There are indeed crocodiles and the food is good.
But the highlight of the evening are the enormous number and variety of birds descending on the pool in search of their own dinner.
Much, much later, we walk back along the beach accompanied by the exotic sound of drummers. We have not ventured far, but I have enjoyed my first day in The Gambia.
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