I find it difficult to actually stop and sit down and type on my tiny scratched up phone but I spend the entire day constantly thinking about lovely things to say about this place. I imagine these perfect sentences that I can never remember by the time I get to writing, and scratch my head trying to think of all it is that I wanted to say.
It’s been nearly a week since we arrived, and we’ve had 2 different hotels and 2 couchsurf hosts. The first hotel was in the popular Senegambia area, and our it’s night left us with an impression of Gambian prostitutes and Boss ladies – the opposite (white women buying black male love). Our hotel had both electricity and water, which we started to appreciate after our first host. Our second host coincidentally lived only a few blocks away from him in the same suburb of Banjul, and we’ve run into many of our taxi drivers and even people from out flight in this crowded little area. When walking the sandy streets at night, I don’t see a thing, but the lack of street lights doesn’t bother the locals at all, so I follow closely behind them and their super-human night vision. During the day, you weave through the residential areas, split into compounds where each family (or families) lives, and think you’ll never find your way bank home or out of the maze. But then, all of a sudden you find yourself recognizing the same puddle you accidentally dipped your toe into last night, stumbling in the pitch black.
The locals can also recognize eachother a mile away, just by the way they walk, and hear eachothers whispering voices over the roaring traffic, all in a way I think I could never learn. All who know eachother greet eachother, by just quietly saying their first name “Dawda”. My local name is Binta, or those who learn it’s Katrin and can’t say it call me Kadi.
They say “thank you” for most things – yes, right, I agree, I know, thanks, whatever. We’ve been eating the same staples for breakfast, lunch and dinner – bread, potatoes, onions, and sometimes eggs or fish if you’re lucky. We escaped to a nice beach side resort for one night to have a proper shower, feel some AC, and charge the batteries (literally and figuratively), but after some time there we started to get sick of the old, fat-ish, burned tourists, overpriced drinks, and packaged culture. Once we returned to the compounds to stay with our second host, we slowly got sick of sleeping on the floor with no fan, and having only a tap of water and hole in the ground to function both as a shower and a toilet. The grass is always greener on the other side, or we just never seem to be happy with where we are, but I think the latter will stay more of a reality. It might even become the luxury we miss soon… Water seems to be a commodity in Bissau, where we’re Headed next.