Once Bitten…

This is not a reference to mosquitoes: if it were, I’d have to raise the title by a factor 100 or something.

By the way, there is now a small gallery of pictures and as I’ve finally worked out how to do it, I may add more.

Friday afternoons are free of classes: I thought at first this was a kindness to a visiting toubab but actually there no classes at all in the PIA on Fridays after 11:30, though at least some of the neighbourhood schools do carry on.

This afternoon I wandered up the road in the general direction of the nearest part of the tourist strip, where there are a few shops etc. as well as the “African Village Hotel”. First thing I noticed was a group of workmen knocking down the bank: it’s been completely emptied and even the ATM has gone. A waitress in a shaded cafe across the road tells me it’s being extended, so it’s not a result of a localised sub-prime lending disaster. It is, however, a bit of a nuisance as it’s the only bank in walking distance so the IRA group are going to have to find somewhere else to change money etc. unless the building is extended faster than I expect.

Is there not an old music hall song, or possibly a good news/bad news routine that involves “They’re knocking down the… to build a …”?

Minutes after passing the dilapidated bank, a Gambian hailed me as a long lost friend and asked me if I recognised him. Deja vu all over again. He reminded me that he was Keba from reception, so I looked naively puzzled and said “Reception?” “The African Village Hotel” he triumphantly replied. I was able to say, without stopping, “I’m not staying there” and left him looking slightly crestfallen! He wasn’t the same Keba from reception that I mentioned a week or two back either: must be his twin. I never found out if he’d just got married though I was tempted.

I am tempted to go back to Sinatra’s Bar this evening as they are advertising that “The Holy Family” is playing tonight. I imagine Joseph is a virtuoso on woodwind and Mary has the voice of an angel!

I returned to the PIA at the back of four, to be met by Mousa who told me my dinner was ready. I had a quick look and tossed a mental dalasi. “Thanks, I only had lunch about two” I said, thus sealing my fate: cold stew and chips about 6:30pm.

I’ve been honing this for some time: it’s my first and probably last Anglo-Wolof joke, which I’ll translate for those of you whose Wolof is even worse than mine. (Spellings are anglicised.)

Knock Knock

Coco lie? (Who’s there?)


Exil! (Come in!)

No, they’ve just let me come back!

Boom boom!

I’m hoping to Skype the missus tonight: that’s not a euphemism.

And Malcolm, they do have Bells in The Gambia!


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