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Monday, May 14, 2012

Mykel's Africa Blog Chapter 18: Malick pt 1

Mykel's Africa Blog

Chapter 18: Malick in Wonderland

"I thought I couldn't know whether it was a prosperous state or not, unless I knew who had got the money, and whether any of it was mine. --Charles Dickens

No malaria drug is 100% effective. The most important rule don't get bitten in the first place. --My doctor, when prescribing the anti-malaria drug I take daily on this trip

I begin writing this chapter at the end of my second day back in New York. Earlier today I joined some folks at our monthly BOOK CLUB. The book was TROPIC OF CANCER, and I'd read it, at least partially, in Paris. It now occupies some position among the top 20 books I've read.

A disappointment at the meeting was lack of girls. Although the group is at least half females (maybe more) EVERY ONE bailed on this discussion. Cowardice if ever I've seen it. Ok, so I'm back in New York and piss-offedness is the order of the day. And this blog-entry is pretty pissed off.

Let's go back to The Gambia where I've traveled from the Dakar “ghetto” with a thrice daily diet of fish and rice through Senegal to The Gambia:

[Note 1: According to my internet research, The Gambia is called THE Gambia because it is named after the river at its center. All rivers have THE in English (The Mississippi, The Nile, The Amazon, etc.). Some people have the same explanation for why THE Bronx is called THE Bronx... after The Bronx Rive. I have my doubts about this explanation.

We don't call the state of Mississippi THE Mississippi, even though it's named after the river. THE refers to the river only. Likewise Colorado is not THE Colorado. I think THE Bronx is THE because it was formed from a plural. The Broncks, referring to the Bronck Family ie. The Broncks. They were the original European owners of this land. Plural places: The United States, The Azores, The Philippines-- take THE in English. In English we often use the letter X as a plural when S would follow the K: pix, tix, chickenpox, Trix etc. That's why THE Bronx is THE... because it's plural.

As to The Gambia, I think it's a shortened form of the country's full name: THE REPUBLIC OF GAMBIA. Names with real nouns (The Soviet Union, The United Kingdom, The Dominican Republic, etc) take THE in English. end of my linguistic musing]

So I've come off the ferry boat, met my next host, Malick. Tall, thin, handsome, and very dark, he dresses like a hip hop gangsta: Baseball hat with perfectly flat rim, Red and white jogging suit... Adidas or a Chinese knock-off of Adidas.

Although Malick listed his address in Banjul (where we are now), as with my previous hosts, he really lives quite far away... in the burbs.

Right now I'm now driving with him to Sukuta, where he lives on “a family compound,” with brothers, sisters, steps, and a lot more I can't figure out.

Here's a map so you can see what I'm talking about. Distances don't seem very large on it... but this is sand travel. What's far here would NOT be very far in concrete and asphalt land:

[Note 2: The “taxi” system, both in Senegal and The Gambia (and maybe Morocco... I didn't take taxis there), needs some explaining. There are two kinds of taxi. One is a personal taxi, sometimes called a tourist taxi. In The Gambia they are usually green. These taxis are like taxis in the U.S. You get one, and the price is the same if you are one person or five people.

Tourist taxis are usually found in the tourist areas. They are expensive, but can be negotiated. It's sometimes possible to hire a bush taxi (see below) as a tourist taxi... especially late at night.

The other taxi, called a BUSH TAXI by the locals, runs more like a bus. There is a fixed fare PER PERSON. The taxi runs along a fixed route and passengers tell the driver where they want to get off. Drivers can-- and usually do-- pick up new passengers anywhere along the route.

To get a Bush Taxi, you have to stand by the side of the road and look like you're looking for a taxi. Taxis will pass by with open windows on the drivers side. If the taxi isn't full, you shout the name of your destination to the driver. If that's where he's going, he'll stop and you get in. If it's not, he'll just keep on driving.

Locals, who have a good sense of geography, often take two... sometimes three... taxis to complete a route. Even then... especially during rush hour, you might have to wait a long time to get one. Once, with my friend Landing, we waited more than an hour with no luck. Finally he gave up, took a taxi to a nearby city, and we walked the last mile or so.

For both taxi types there are no meters. The BUSH taxis usually have a fixed price-- per person. Late at night they charge more and the price has to be negotiated. Tourist taxis-- or when you hire a Bush Taxi as a tourist taxi-- require a negotiated price.]

I watch the scenery change as the taxi bounces along. Paved roads to clay roads to sand. Crowded streets to empty streets. Street lights to darkness.

Malick speaks to me, “I'm a promoter. Music, mostly dance and club music. Djs and all. Everybody knows me. You like music?”

Malick and friend
Malick is on the right, in red
I love music,” I tell him. I don't tell him what KIND of music I love. He doesn't ask.

Great,” he says, “on the weekend, my friend, a German, will DJ at a club in Senegambia. You can meet him.”

I nod.

I like to support other people's shows,” he continues. “I want people to come out to my shows, so I always go to other people's shows. You understand?”

I nod.

It'll be a great party. Music all night. Big crowds, I hope,” he says. “We like to support each other. You understand.”

This time, it's not a question.

It's late, so by the time we arrive, I can just make out the outlines of some low-lying buildings.

When we arrive, Malick speaks to me.

Pay the driver,” he says.

How much?” I ask.

Fifty dahlasi (about a dollar and a half),” he says. “You understand?”

I open my wallet, pay the guy, and get out.

We're on a wide sandy street, someplace. A few street vendors are selling something by the side of the road. Across the street I can make out a white building. Painted on the side of the building is L.A. Sound Recording Studio.

Look behind you,” says Malick. “This the the entrance to the market here. I'm close to the market. If you need to come here, you can always tell the taxi driver SUKUTA MARKET. Everybody knows that. It's near the mosque.”

I donno. I get the feeling that saying near the mosque in the Gambia would be as useful as saying near the Starbucks in New York. I don't say this, though. I don't think he'd get it.

From where the taxi leaves us, we walk down a dusty dark side road. In a little while, we come to a gate. Malick pushes on the gate and we enter.

This is the family compound,” he tells me. “Everybody knows it. My father built it and it's very big. Everybody knows my father here. You just ask for the Manneh compound. Everybody knows it. You understand?”

The compound is a twisting maze of connected houses. There seems to be several courtyards with houses... or partial houses around them. We walk a dozen yards, make several turns before Malick comes to a door. He reaches into his pocket.

My key!” he says, “I can't find my key.”

He checks his pants pockets, his jacket pockets, his pants pockets again. I can see it now. Sleeping outside in front of the door. I look down into the dust.

I look up again and Malick is gone. The door NEXT to his is open. In a few seconds, the door in front of me opens. And I'm welcomed inside and shown my room. A private bedroom with a doorway on each end. Anyone walking from the livingroom to the toilet have to pass through “my” bedroom. Ok, I'll take it.

A fish and rice dinner does not await me. NOTHING awaits me.

Are you tired?” asks Malick.

Yes,” I tell him.

And that's it for the night.

My first morning in the Gambia:

I wake up early. As consciousness slowly rises from my sleep-addled brain, I begin to realize the pressure on my bladder. Ok, that's normal. The rumbling gas through my lower intestines. Normal too. A good tightening of the stomach and the gas trumpets its exit.

Then there's my right hand. Somewhere on the back of it... between my thumb and forfinger. It's an itch. Eyes still closed, I reach my left hand up to scratch. I feel a small lump there... and realize I also itch further up on my right arm... on the inside. Another bump... then another.

My entire arm became one gigantic itch. I feel like tearing my skin off. Here's a picture of the arm taken at another location. The mosquitoes never stop.

All this is still in half-sleep... semi-concousness. I feel the remains of last night's non-meal as well as the aquarium of a month of fish swimming through my intestines. I trumpet a blast heard round the world. (In New York they thought Yom Kippur came early.)

I hear a throat clearing in the void above me. I squint open my eyes. Malick towers over me.

Do you want some tea, Mykel?” he asks.

I'd love some,” I tell him.

Give me some money,” he says. “I'll go buy some tea.”

I reach off the bed and fumble for my pants. I dig the wallet out of my pocket and hand him a tenspot for the tea. It should cost 3... I'll give you odds on seeing change...

No change.

I hate it when I find something AMERICAN about myself. I always think I'm BEYOND American culture... an international person. But that internationality does not extend to COFFEE! It's a biological disability.

My stomach cannot produce the coffee enzyme by itself. It must be supplemented from the outside. If it is not, the symptoms are too horrible to recount here.

Though I love West African tea, it doesn't do the trick.

I need some coffee,” I tell Malick. “I'll die without it.”

Good idea!” he says. “We'll go get breakfast.”

We walk out of the compound and sit down at one of the few restaurant/cafes in town. A white couple is already sitting at one of the other outdoor tables. They're speaking German to each other.

Malick talks to the waitress/owner in what I think is Wolof. They have a short conversation.

I ordered coffee for you, but I don't know what you want to eat,” he says. “They have eggs if you like them.”

Eggs would be a nice change,” I tell him.

From interminable fish and rice,” I don't say.

Order something for yourself,” I do say.

I already did,” says Malick.

I know her,” says Malick pointing to the owner. “She was named after my uncle.”

My family is very well-known in this town. Me too,” he continues. “They all know me here. If you ever get lost just ask for the Manneh compound. Everybody knows it. You understand?”

He pulls out his cellphone... dials... shakes his head.

Mykel,” he says, “let me use your cellphone. Mine doesn't have any credits.”

We've got a plan for this evening. We're going to meet Landing, another couch-surfing host. He lives in a nearby town and will come to visit us.

FLASH TO 8PM: Landing calls from in front of the Sukuta market... near the mosque. Malick leaves to meet him and bring him back to THE COMPOUND.

Landing is another couch-surfer host. One I will stay with later on this trip. He's come to join us for dinner tonight... and introduce himself.

He's a gentle guy, quieter and more self-effacing than either Malick or me. He's a cook at a hotel in Bakau, an area for lower budget tourists than Senegambia. You can see landing preparing lunch for our couch-surfing party. More on that next entry.

They speak a bit... in English.

You can speak Wolof if you want,” I tell them.

I'm not Wolof,” says Malick. “I'm Mandinka. I usually speak Mandinka. I only speak Wolof to people from Senegal.”

He looks at Landing. “You're not Mandinka, are you?” he asks.

No,” says Landing, “I'm Aku.”

Can you tell a tribe by looking?” I ask, slightly amazed-- caught in an embarrassing they-all-look-the-same-to-me moment.

Malick nods, “I can always tell. You see, his skin is lighter. And the face... and always the way of speaking. The accent is different. It's easy to tell.”

I later find out that here, in Africa's smallest country, there are a TON of different tribes: Fula, Jola, Mandinka, Serahule, Serer, Tukulor and even a few Wolof. Each tribe has its own language. What a great location to do fieldwork! Where are the linguists? They should be swarming this place like mosquitoes!

No time to academicize... It's off to dinner. I'm treating, and these guys have picked out a restaurant. It's a place you can get a beer and sit outside.

We have to take a taxi, of course. We'll pick it up INFRONTOFSUKUTAMARKETBYTHEMOSQUE. But first, a quick stop in one of the Internet Cafes. It's right next to the L.A. Recording Studio.

The guy on duty is Abdou, another couch surfer. Wow! That's three in a day. I ask one of the guys at a computer to take a picture of us together.

From left to right its: Landing, Malick, Mykel, Abdou

Gambian couch surfers

We leave Abdou at work and head for a taxi to the restaurant. As it turns out, Abdou will be my favorite CS host this entire trip... but more on that in a couple chapters.

Right now, let's go... me, Malick, and Landing to the restaurant they've picked out. I'm not sure what part of The Gambia I'm in, but we get out of the cab (I pay the driver) and head for the restaurant. Malick and Landing lead the way.

The doorman, a big guy, elegantly dressed, moves to block their way. Then he sees me and steps aside.

Are you here for dinner, or just drinks at the bar?” he asks.

Dinner,” I tell him.

He seats us at a table in the back... away from the entrance.

The place is faux thatched. Outdoors with a lot of empty tables, and a few with one or two white people at them.

Landing and Malick are the only two non-white customers. The waiters, of course, are locals, dressed very elegantly in black and white. One of them, a man in his mid-50's I'd guess, brings the menu.

Would you like something to drink while deciding on your meal?”

I order a beer. Landing orders a coke. Malick also has a beer. We look at the menu. The cheapest meal is FISH AND CHIPS for 300 Dalasi, about ten dollars.

Is this the price for ONE ORDER of Fish and chips?” Landing asks the waiter.

Of course,” he says in an if-you-have-to-ask-you-shouldn't-be-here tone voice.

We finish our drinks, pay for them, promise to come back after taking care of some urgent business.... and hightail it outta there.

Malick finds us a place around the corner. Mixed, with people of all colors at the tables. A much more relaxed atmosphere... and there's music. Drumming! With people dancing.

video of African drumming
From Gambia

The dancing is great, as is the drumming. I'm a little sad that the diners don't seem to pay much attention to the show. It's like a lounge singer in New York. They sing their livers out, but the crowd barely acknowledges them. A pretty unrewarding job, I'd say.

We order some food... NO fish and rice... One of the dancers walks over to the table where a middle-aged white couple is just finishing their dinner. She takes the woman, who is in complete tourist drag... shorts... t-shirt... sunglasses... rubber flip flops... and pulls her to the open stage area.

Make her dance. Yeah!

For her, maybe, it's the chance to participate in something REALLY AFRICAN. Something to tell the kids about when she gets home to Dusseldorf or wherever. So before long she's really into it. Waving her hands... stomping her feet... in absolutely no relation to the beat of the drums.

I love it. To me, it seems like a private trick. A way for the locals to laugh at the tourists... to make fun of the stupid whiteguys who come to gawk at the natives, but really don't have a clue to what it's like on the other side of the camera. Let's put THEM in the zoo for a bit, and make THEM entertain US.

Landing and Malick can't understand why I'm chuckling.

During dinner, I talk about my past adventures. I mention the couch-surfing get-togethers in Dakar.

That's what you guys should do,” I tell them. “Have a couch-surfing party. Get to know each other. Landing could cook on the beach. We could have a beach party.”

Malick's face lights up with the idea. Uh oh, what have I done?

Great idea, Mykel,” he says. “We'll do it this Sunday. We could have a great party. Lots of food and drink. We'll have dozens of people.”

FLASH AHEAD: Tonight's the big DJ Dance party... in Senegambia. Organized by one of Malick's friends, it's a MUST see. Malick wants to support the DJ... a German... so we've just GOT to go. Landing will meet us there.

I don't have any disco clothes. I put on my ROIR reggae t-shirt and, of course, sunglasses after dark. We walk to the main street in front of the... you know what. Malick hails a cab and we're off.

In the cab, Malick tells me how he's arranged shows at this club before. How famous it is. How you have to plan and promote and all the promoters know each other. How he's had “several hit shows.” How he's had DJ shows with people from Senegal, Germany and Jamaica. All kinds of shows.

SENEGAMBIA is on the beach. It's the resort area and whitest part of the country. It ain't Miami or Cancun, but it wants to be.

There is a police checkpoint at the entrance to Senegambia. It's obvious that their job is to make the area safe for white people. They stop suspicious-looking people (read natives) entering the district.

ID please... what is your business here?”

Our drummer cafe was in Senegambia. I didn't realize it at the time. I do remember, though, that Malick and I walked past the checkpoint unmolested. Landing was stopped. Wrong tribe, I guess.

In Senegambia are several hotel complexes. They include some buildings, a swimming pool, a couple bars, a couple restaurants, some “native entertainment,” and African workers of all types. They're mostly filled with all-inclusive tourists who never leave the complex. They're the kind of places I hate.

Oh, I've been to Africa, my my isn't it exotic. All those natives... they're so cute in their native costumes... serving their native food to all these people... and it's so clean!”


Most of the tourists are European: English, German, Dutch, Spanish. We're supposed to meet Landing at the club-- not far from a hotel complex.

After I pay the cab we head to a shop... it's empty... Malick speaks to the owner in Mandinko. The place is closed.

That was the internet cafe,” says Malick. “I don't know how we're going to meet Landing now.”

Were we supposed to meet there?” I ask him.

No,” he says, not explaining further.

I have to make some phone calls,” he tells me, “could you give me some money to recharge my phone. Thirty dalasi should be enough.”

I check my wallet. I only have a hundred. I hand it to him, expecting change. Yeah, right.

That's good,” says Malick, “that way I won't have to recharge for awhile.”

He goes to a kiosk and hands the 100 to the woman who takes his phone and does whatever you have to do to recharge it.

[NOTE: In Senegal... and most countries in Europe. When you want to add money to your pre-paid cellphone, you buy a card with a scratch-off number. You scratch, then put that number in your cellphone with a special code. The value is added.

Here in The Gambia, it's an environmentalists dream. There are no cards. To recharge your phone, someone enters your phone number and a special code in their special recharging phone. That money is electronically transferred to your phone. No paper waste. Just like using the toilets here. Though neither is a hands-free operation.]

While Malick is busy with the recharge, I survey the landscape. Next to the kiosk is a 2 story building with a lot of people hanging out in front. They look like NY uptown club-goers... or what I'd imagine New York uptown club-goers would look like if I ever went to a club in uptown New York.

Wait here,” says Malick. “I need to do something.”

I'm bored just waiting,” I tell him. “I'd like to do something too.”

What's the matter with you?” he asks. “Just be yourself. You understand. Be yourself.”

Then he takes off someplace. In a quarter hour, he's back.

Entrance is 50 dalasi each,” says Malick.

I hand him another hundred. We walk around to the front entrance of that two-story building. Malick greets the dreadlocked guy at the door.... hands him the hundred like its his. We go up the stairs and enter the club.

The place is strangely designed. I guess it must once have been something else... a fancy restaurant maybe.

There's a stage with a large DJ set-up... computers, turntables, a microphone. In front of the stage is the dancefloor... much larger than it seems from the outside. To the right of the dancefloor are a few seats and tables. In back of the tables is a bar. Along the sides of the place is a hallway with a few seats along the back wall. Every yard or so, is an entrance to the main club.

Landing is not inside. Neither is almost anyone else. I order a beer and buy one for Malick. Then I where-are-you text Landing.

Where is everyone?” I ask him.

It's very early,” he says. “It's only 9:30.”

Slowly locals trickle in. They seem to know each other. Still no Landing though. I hope he's all right.

At around 11, the place is still sparsely filled. I feel a vibration in my pocket. It's a text from Landing.

We are outside now. We are waiting for you.

We? Who is WE? I go downstairs...push my way past the bouncer, past the promoter. There's Landing... He brought a friend, a young guy maybe 18. I pay admission for them both.

They bound up the stairs like this is a special treat. I buy a coke for each. Before I can click bottles in a L'CHIAM, they're on the dancefloor. Disco bunnies.

You like this music,” I ask Landing between songs.

I love it,” he says. “It's my favorite.”

I groan... quietly.

I take a seat in the back of the bar and nurse my beer. A 40-something woman sits next to me.

Hi,” she says, “what's your name? Where you come from?”

Mykel, New York,” I tell her.

That's nice,” she says, “you want to dance?”

No thanks,” I say. “I don't dance.”

She puts her hand on my thigh. “What do you like to do?” she asks.

Definitely not my type... and where would we go? It's not like I'm staying at a hotel here.

I get up and walk out of the main room. I walk to the back, there's a window there and I can look out over the Senegambia vista. I can just stand and drink a beer, unmolest...

Hi, what's your name? Where you come from?” says a voice behind me. It's a BEAUTIFUL girl, slim, early twenties, a face you would... er... stimulate yourself to on those lonely nights when it's just you and the mosquitoes. She's with her pimp.

You like my cousin?” asks the pimp. “She can spend the night with you... in your hotel room.”

I don't have a hotel room,” I tell him. “No, thank you.”

Behind the girl, is the stairway to the street. More and more people are climbing those stairs into the club. No one is leaving.

I'm sorry,” I say, actually sorry.

She'll give you a good price,” says the pimp. “I know you'd like to...”

I'm sorry,” I say again.

Take a look at her,” says the pimp.

NO!” I shout, pushing him aside and heading to another corner of the room.

I stand there, watching people dance, trying to hide.

Hi,” comes a masculine voice behind me, “what's your name? Where you come from?”

It's a very Jamaican-looking guy. About 6-foot tall, dreadlocks tucked into a rasta hat, loose jeans, t-shirt: red, yellow, green.

You like this music, the atmosphere?” he asks.

I shrug.

He reaches in his pocket. “I got something here that'll make you like it more,” he says.

No thanks,” I say.

What you like?” he asks, “Weed? Coke? Uppers? Downers?”

NO!” I shout. And walk to yet another corner, this one right near a speaker. The music's so loud no one can talk to me... right?

They try. Some guy walks up to me and says something. By this time my mood is so foul I don't care if he wants to give me cash. I just want to be left alone.

Without hearing a word, I just shout NO! and walk back to the tables and sit down. It's about 12:30 in the morning. Malick appears next to me.

Hey Mykel,” he says, “you enjoying yourself?”

No,” I tell him, “not at all.”

That's nice,” he answers completely oblivious. “The star DJ, the German guy is here. He'll start soon. You want to meet him?”

No, thanks,” I tell him. “I don't want to meet anyone.”

What's the matter with you?” Malick says. “Just be yourself.” He walks away. I get another beer and go back to the table. Landing and his friend see me sitting there.

You're not dancing Mykel,” says Landing.

No, I tell him, “I don't like the music. You guys want a drink?”

They nod, ask for soda (I have to admit that Muslim thing does keep my expenses down... a bit.) I bring it to them, they thank me and go back to the dancefloor. I go back to the table wishing I were someplace at least SLIGHTLY less miserable... like in a doctor's office having a digital rectal exam... with the doc using sandpaper gloves.

A women sits down at the table next to me. “Hi,” she says, “what's your name? Where to you come from?”

I drain my beer and walk out of the place, onto the street, looking for someplace to go... out of the way... where no one will bother me.

It's weird. Usually I LOVE prostitutes... and strippers. I love to watch them, to even sit and talk with them, sometimes to purchase services. But tonight I have no place to take them... and I'm not enjoying the music... and I feel like I'm being attacked... swarmed on... like mosquitoes... I can't have a moment free... they won't let me alone... it's awful.

I walk outside to clear my head, get away from the whores and drug dealers. Jeez, I sound like an old guy.

I go to the same cafe we saw the drum show. Sit down, order a beer. Nobody bothers me... for about 85 seconds.

Two girls, walking arm-in-arm pass by. They look freshly scrubbed, in disco clothes, out for a night on the town. They see me sitting alone at a table. They wave to me. I look the other way. One of them shouts something to me. I ignore it. They walk past.

Jeez! What's got into me? Maybe they were just trying to be nice. I've been so poisoned by the money-grubbing on this trip that I can no longer respond humanly. I'm just a ball of LEAVE ME ALONE! GO AWAY! I HATE YOU!

I pay for the beer and go to another bar, this one right next to the awful disco. It's coming on 5AM. I sit, order a coke and a chicken sandwich. While I'm waiting, another rastaman comes over to talk to me.

How's your night going?” he says to me.

GO AWAY NOW!” I tell him. “Just leave. Get out of here.”

Ok man,” he says, “I was just trying to talk wid choo. Der's no need to act like that man.” He walks away.

I get up from the table, go to the bathroom, and throw up. Then I return, sit down and slowly drink my coke. Before long, there's a text on my phone. It's Malick.


I tell him. It's a half hour before he, Landing, and Landing's friend come to meet me.

Where were you?” asks Malick. “I tried to find you to introduce you to the DJ.”

I hate the prostitutes and drug-dealers,” I tell him. “They wouldn't leave me alone.”

You know what the DJ said?” he says, “this is for Malick and his friends... that's what he said... you were going to give me your camera so I could make publicity. We needed your camera,” he says. “I wanted to take some video of the dance. To post it on the internet... You understand?”

I don't hit him.

Landing and (I forget his name) have to leave now,” Malick tells me. “Give them money for a taxi and then we'll go back.”

I fork over a hundred. Landing thanks me and they're off. Then, Malick hails a yellow cab. Talks to the driver in Mandinka. Then opens the back door and says, “Get in.”

He gets in after me and closes the door. I figure he's hired the cab as a tourist taxi. It's late and I'm tired and pissed off, so I don't object. It's better than waiting for an hour or more.

When we arrive in Sukuta. Malick again talks to the driver in Mandinka. Then he speaks to me.

Pay the driver,” he says.

How much?” I ask.

I can't understand his response.

How much?” I ask again.

The driver turns to me and says, “I gave you a good rate. Sometimes I charge 200 to tourists to come this far. Why you complain?”

Malick says to me, “What's the matter with you? Be yourself, man. He's trying to be nice to us and you treat him this way? What's wrong with you? He's trying to be nice. You understand?”

I hold open my wallet. Malick pulls from it a 100 dalasi bill and gives it to the driver. He again speaks to him in Mandinka... probably apologizing for me.

Get out now,” says Malick.

We leave the cab and walk to THE COMPOUND. Malick has not lost his key.

Here's a map of the trip up to now.

Map of trip from Paris to The Gambia
It's always nice to get comments to these entries. Please leave one. You can also contact me on Facebook or at If I'm traveling, however, I may not be able to answer your email very quickly.

This is the 18h entry of my travel blog for this trip. Here are links to the past entries:

Episode 1 here (Before leaving New York 1)

Episode 2 here (Before leaving New York 2)

Episode 3 here (Before leaving New York 3)

Episode 4 here. (Before leaving New York 4)

Episode 5 here (New York to Paris)

Episode 6 here (Strasbourg Party Time)

Episode 7 here (Ryan Air)

Episode 8 here (Back to Paris)

Episode 9 here (Death in Tangier)

Episode 10 here (Resurrection in Tangier)

Episode 11 here (Monkey Business in Gibraltar)

Episode 12 here (Entering Senegal from the rear)

Episode 13 here (Killing Me Softly)

Episode 14 here (The Road to Dakar)

Episode 15 here (Rags to Riches)

Episode 16 here (Behind Nirvana)

Episode 17 here (The Road to The Gambia)