I still can’t believe it! I was actually driving a motorcycle in Africa!
It was a bit difficult to explain the idea to Babou, he didn’t quite understand why there are separate MC clubs, aren’t motorcycles just for traveling from one place to another. I suppose it’s a bit weird that we in Finland consider it as a hobby, but there aren’t so many Finns who drive throughout the year ;)
Since I was so interested about Babou’s bike, he promised to take me to a short tour, he had two bikes and I could borrow the other! JEEEE, I was so thrilled!!! I couldn’t sleep the night before I was so exited.
When I called Babou that Wednesday afternoon to agree the time I heard that he doesn’t have any helmets. Jaiks! But my excitement didn’t fade away, even though I was starting to feel a bit insecure about it. What if I fall, if there’s an accident, what if…I thought about the dangers but I haven’t chickened out for many things in my life and I decided it’ll be kismet if something happens. I will drive, helmet or no helmet!
A BMW and a Honda Africa Twin, both bikes soooo high. I needed help to get the Africa Twin off the center brace; I barely got the ball of my foot to the ground, plus no helmet, no goretex gear, no proper boots. But the bike was really nice, I couldn’t back away now. Babou was looking really cool, pressed trousers and a dress shirt, I started feeling a little more confident without proper mc-gear.
And off we went. We strolled off to the main road, luckily it was in pretty good shape. The asphalt’s edge was lacelike and I was horrified to think that I should go to the sand…the red sand was like powder snow, difficult to even walk in, let alone steer a bike (unless with speed!). It would be like driving in deep mud. And to my horror after about 10 kilometers Babou made a U-turn on the sand expecting me to follow. There was no other option if I wanted to go back, I had to do it! Yeah, right, it was no U-turn, more like an exercise, I was sweating while moving forward, backing up, moving forward, backing up, it took me some time to finally be on the right way towards the road, I accelerated and nearly flipped once transferring from sand to asphalt! My heart was bouncing but the smile was glued on my face for the rest of the day :)
What a perfect thing to do to get the vacation to succeed! Thanks, Babou
Honda Africa Twin 750
The trip to The Gambia was not just a holiday; it was also a trip to see the other half of Sele’s, my godson’s, relatives. The place where we stayed was called the Mango Club Hotel, a very cozy hotel in Kerr Sering area. Pam, an English lady, managed it with great patience. She had just fell in love with the country, extended her holiday and stayed there! We had quite a few laughs when she was telling us stories of the first weeks, I think she should write a book about her experiences :) I suppose the way of working differs a bit when you’re comparing it to European way, more relaxed and carefree… which was the general way of life, no tight schedules, no extra tensions, straitlaced people were banned and everybody were happy :)
Left: The Mango Club Hotel
The first days were quite busy. We visited so many people, I lost count already, everybody wanted to see Sele. We met George’s, Sele’s father’s, sister, brothers, other relatives, cousins etc. I was already exhausted after few days. Luckily Leena gave me her blessing that I wouldn’t have to join all the family gatherings, I could have my Sun days if I would like to. And I did. Just lying at the pool, reading first the DaVinci Code, then the Bible Code (I recommend it) and just relaxing without a watch. Heavenly!
Right: Some huuuuge palm trees…
Leena was also very pleased to see her old friends again, after five years. Lotte, the Danish guide from ‘Gambian Experience’ had a daughter, Sofie, who was the same age as Sele. Even though they didn’t have a common language, they were cheerfully playing together; children have that kind of “secret” language, they get along without common words.
We even had a night out! Sele went with his father and Leena and I had a couple of Jul Brew’s with Sele’s uncle, Selle. He was also acting as our “bodyguard” when we visited the local nightclub. Unfortunately I didn’t have my camera with me, I don’t have any pictures from there…or maybe it’s better that way :)))
| Gambian cows know how to relax,
they hang around at the beach ;)
|My career is elsewhere, I didn’t do a very good job…|
Two weeks went by so fast! All of a sudden it was Friday, our last day. It was a bit sad feeling to have to leave these wonderful people. Pam came to see me off at the airport and we promised to stay in touch. I hope I can visit them again soon, I think we’ll travel there every now and then. And it will be even more fun now when you know some people already! I can definitely recommend The Gambia as a place for a nice holiday for everybody!
while waiting for better driving weather, Ninnair