I am completely in love with Africa/The Motherland, and was in love with it before I even went (the music, insane cultures, languages, animals, enticing danger...). After finally seeing the 'real Africa' (have been to Morocco before but as everyone says, it's not 'Africa'), my love for the Motherland has been confirmed. Here is why.
First let me tell you a little background knowledge on Africa, which I have read in a book that I have called 'Africa' (how many times can I say Africa I wonder...especially before it loses meaning as a word...).
So! The continent of Africa itself is the oldest, and the deepest...remember when you see those little videos of how all the earth plates moved and were all together at the beginning, well, the piece that was Africa never ever moved. Africa also has very few mountains, because unlike the other plates, it's not colliding with itself and wedging one plate over or under another - in fact Africa is EXPANDING, how weird is that! You can see the continent 'stretch marks' somewhere in Ethiopia I think...besides that and random information about giraffes I think I should probably go one with my Gambian tales, oh wait - another interesting point maybe to remember is that, yes we all know Africa in general is underdeveloped, often disease ridden, and just way behind the times, BUT we often fail to realize that for A REALLY LONG TIME people (yes like us dear Americans) went there to take the biggest and strongest MALES (leaders) and make them do menial tasks. So yeah, didn't really help. :)
Anyways after getting a visa and random injections and flying for about 8 hours with a stop in the Grand Canaries (which I had no idea was a part of SPAIN), we arrived in the warmth and haziness that is The Gambia on the west coast of Africa! It was cheaper for us to arrive and not know where we'd say till we got there, and found out we were staying at Kombo Beach, this fancy resort which IRONICALLY I pretended was my address when I was filling out my visa, how coincidental is that!!
First thing besides the body odor we noticed was that EVERYONE wants to help you, everyone wants your money. You know how the 'I'm thinking Arbys' commercials have that hat above their head? It's like we had dollar signs above our heads. And everyone saw that...constantly. What else I have learned is that it would be really good to have planned to have lots of American one dollar bills with me...people definitely like those :) It's in the movies too, and looks so different from ALL the foreign currency I have dealt with so far. Am I becoming slightly sentimental about the American dollars? Yes.
Our resort was sweet with a free huge breakfast and nice pool, right on the beach too. It was interesting how hazy everything was, it wasn't cloudy ever, it's just that the sky was never...clear or blue. Just this amazing African haze that to me was very fitting. Don't know if it's different during the rainy season though. A British guy I talked to told me that in The Gambia they play a game called 'spot the cloud.'
Anyways the first day we really just walked around, got hassled by tons of people to take their tours and rent their bikes etc, also I was called 'Boss Lady' a lot, which will forever remain my favorite nickname I think...the ocean was lovely, the people are deeefinitely friendly, and we ended up meeting the coolest Gambian (part of the Jola tribe when we ate at his restaurant. His name was Bobuka or something like that, we called him Bob, and he was the youngest in his family, which he then told us that everyone with his name is the youngest in their family :) Very interesting, all the eldest children often have the same names too!
I think I will just have to write more later after I study some Danish, there is so much to tell....maybe another one tonight :)