Sunday 27 November 2022
Today we have a quiet day planned. After breakfast, we go for a walk along the beach. We are staying near the end of Cape Point, where the River Gambia meets the Atlantic Ocean. Here, the ocean waves come crashing in perpendicular to the beach as they meet the mouth of the river.
As soon as we leave the hotel, we are followed by a man who tells us he is a talented runner who cannot afford to buy a pair of trainers. It must be so galling to beg for help from a fat old man trundling along the beach in a brand new pair of Asics.
The walk is both interesting and soul destroying. Apart from the constant reminders of the country’s crushing poverty (around 50% of the population live below the poverty line) the pollution is terrible and the beach is strewn with all manner of junk. How long will it be before we kill our oceans?
We walk to the end of the point to the Atlantic proper, then back via the mini market to stock up on drinks. One thing that really annoys the locals is all inclusive holiday makers, whose presence contribute so little to the local economy. So we walk to the mini market each day for our beverage requirements. The shopkeeper is obviously doing well from us, as he has started adding extras to our basket after we’ve paid.
We walk back to the hotel through the craft market, which is teeming with vultures this morning.
When we return, we are told, for the second day in a row, that the air conditioning has been fixed. After returning to our original room, we spend the afternoon swimming, reading and sunbathing before we head off in search of dinner.
This evening I have to kick my curry habit and we go to Gibbi’s on the Beach where they serve traditional Gambian food on a veranda overlooking the ocean.
You can eat and drink beer whilst watching the sun set over the wetlands and listening to reggae music – more reasons why going all inclusive is a bad decision. The sun sets on a different side of the restaurant than we’d expected. The old man goes on at great lengths about how the sun is in the wrong place!
Tonight’s dinner is chicken benachin – chicken cooked in a spicy tomato and pepper sauce, served with rice.
After dinner we return to the hotel for the evening’s entertainment, described as an acrobatic culture show. My expectations are not high. But it turns out be pretty spectacular with drumming, acrobatics, break dancing, even a contortionist who manages to squeeze through the head of a tennis racquet.
The highlight of the trip so far. I mean the show, not the contortionist – that made me feel quite sick. But when I wasn’t about to throw up, I had a thoroughly enjoyable evening of African food and culture.
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