Saturday, January 09, 2016

Gambian Crocodiles and Capital Gains Tax

I was walking to the previously mentioned hotel bar to get maybe just a small sip of internet when I saw someone I recognized. Our friend the ferryman Mustapha Fatty. We were actually planning on calling him today so it was convenient that he just showed up unannounced like a stalker... but come on people. He mumbled something like "I didn't know your room number so I had to wait here." Like why don't you just crawl into bed with me next time crazy.

Mr. Fatty had a map and a serious tour plan mapped out and he wanted to take us on so deep into country that we would have to spend the night there. I was a bit annoyed to be honest. This guy just shows up because we were too polite to lie when he asked where we were staying. Then he wants to just rearrange our travel plans like it's no big deal. We know nothing about this new "hotel" he wants to take us to, first of all. When I pressed him for some details one of the perks he mentions is "electricity". Well why didn't you say so?! I'll go pack my bags! I jokingly ask him how big the pool is.

Eating up all the days we have remaining also dooms us to another grueling all day drive back to Dakar for our flight to Morocco. Furthermore, we will have to take a different route back, which we know nothing about nor can I check on because I can't string five damn minutes of internet together at one time.

It may not shock you to learn that Optimistic Evan thinks this whole plan sounds great. I tried for a bit of a compromise: we'll do the local stuff with Mustapha today and then talk about tomorrow later. Everyone agrees to that plan so we all left the hotel together.

President Yahya Jammeh took power in a 1994 military coup. I believe Gambia has only had two heads of state since gaining independence. You might be thinking "president for 20 years doesn't seem right", but he totally deserves it. He discovered an herbal remedy to cure AIDS in three days (BBC link here). I bet you feel stupid for doubting now, don't you?

The "tour plan". We ended up only seeing half of these things.

There are lots of giant signs around the country supporting the president.

Our first stop was Kachikally Crocodile Pool. I wasn't super excited about coming here because I've seen this type of thing before in Florida, but it ended up being pretty cool. They were pretty insistent that I touch the couple "tame" ones they had out. There was an interesting story where women who were having trouble getting pregnant would go there and pray and then if they had a baby they would name it Kachikally. It's a much more heart warming, bloodless version of the Mayan fertility solution that we learned about in Belize.

I'm going to go ahead and call this a watermelon tree.

I thought the whole "alligators in the sewers" story was BS but now I have proof!

We drove past Independence Stadium and Mustapha said there was a trade fair happening at the moment and I was like "stop the car!" I never saw a Trade Fair Gambia International that I didn't like.

You better believe I'm snagging that Gambia Chamber of Commerce and Industry app!

To my delight the Gambia Revenue Authority had a booth in the corporate premium tent. I had a lot of questions about Gambian capital gains tax that I needed answered.

Assorted humorous herbal cures.

Next we popped over to an outdoor market and had a little look-see. The paths between the sellers was narrow and I was constantly dodging men pushing wheelbarrows full of bags of rice and other heavy stuff.

Especially memorable were the ladies selling fish. The flies. The flies! Each lady had a little pom pom thing on the end of a stick that she would whip and a whole storm of flies would zip every which way. Mustapha said they would let the fish sit out like this in the open for hours before refrigerating them. I was thinking I don't think that's how refrigeration works but ok...

We were dropped off at the hotel and agreed to meet Mustapha in the morning to drive to the middle of nowhere.

Gambia's currency, the dalasi, isn't worth much so when you change money you end up with these giant stacks of paper.

Back at the hotel they were roasting a freaking pig.

Soaking up some last few moments of comfort before we head out into the unknown.

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