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Retracing our steps

Mbour, Senegal

After finding out that there were no cash machines further south we had to go back up north to Mbour. Walking out of the hotel it dawned on us that all our walking along the beach was in vain and we had to get a taxi back (we certainly were not walking the 14km back). Knowing it would be difficult getting a cheap taxi from outside the hotel complex (we were quoted an extortionate 10,000cfa) we started to walk and hitch back to Mbour; after only 5mins of walking we got picked up and gave the guy 1000cfa. He dropped us off outside the bank and we got enough cash out to last until we got to Gambia. Walking back towards the main road to get a lift to Joal-Fadiout, we got talking to a Gambian man called Essa. It was lovely to speak English for a change and he invited us back to his compound to talk about Gambia and meet his sister-in-law, nephew and friends. When we got inside the compound, the heavens opened so we sat in the dry iron house and we shared our rola-cola with everyone and listened to Essa talking about Gambia. It was funny that he kept saying how the Gambians are honest and that the Senegalese always try and cheat you. As it was still heavily raining we were kinda stranded; Essa kept trying to persuade to stay for weeks with him and he would travel with us to Gambia and show us all the sights, he even offered that we could help do some agricultural work in own compound in Kartong, Gambia. Essa was in Senegal to save more money to buy a new boat, as his was written off in a accident. Whilst we were there we shared a Gambian dish of rice, fish and veg, we left the fish but the rice and veg was good albeit slightly fishy.

When the rain eased up Essa wanted to show us his passport so Ben followed him to his room in another compound leaving Kat reading French magazines. On Ben's return it was Kat's turn to see the other compound she was gone ages and Ben was starting to worry. Essa showed Kat where he slept, his friends compound where he had helped with the soil for a veg plot; 'did you know it only takes 40days for a cucumber plant to grow from seed to fruit', he told Kat what plants were good for the body - basil for digestion, henna for tummy upsets, etc. He was growing couscous, bananas, pomegranate and lots of herbs. He also took Kat other places to see a huge building that his rasta friend had built and decorated all with stones the size of her fist – it must have taken ages! They also walked to the beach where he kept on at her for us to stay but Kat made excuses as we didn’t want to stay in Mbour.

Back at the compound where Ben had been left trying to talk French with a family friend, Kat returned and we had lent Kat's fan to the Essa's sister-in-law to help fan her child but after breast feeding she had left the baby playing with it and now it was in pieces. The storm was over and we asked Essa for directions back to the road to which he reluctantly agreed and walked us back to the road where we all walked to the outside of the town; saying our goodbye's and Essa headed back home. We flagged down a taxi which took us straight to Joel-Fadiout for only 2000cfa, he also helped us find a place to camp although we decided to stay in a hotel which was good value. What a day.

permalink written by  Kat and Ben on July 19, 2009 from Mbour, Senegal
from the travel blog: Kat & Ben's World Adventure
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