Back to the roots, to the heat, sun, red soil, orange roads, green / turquoise / all shades of blue salty water of Atlantic, ladyfish, stray dogs, sand between my toes, biggest papayas in the world – smiling coast of Africa – The Gambia!
I am welcomed by smiling locals using palm oil for absolutely anything like it is a miracle cure for all; so called “bumpsters” hassling for some money, trying to sell anything from the sight of their new born baby (WHY? WHY?), through marijuana to various sex offers (and it doesn’t matter whether you are young, old, ugly, man or woman, they find you attractive in all forms! If you pay them…).
Taxi drivers honking on you offering you rides even if you just want to walk to the corner shop 100 meters away and beautiful walking towers – graceful girls like gazellas, while wearing plates of fruits and nuts or laundry on their heads.
All sort of domestic animals foraging on roads among cars, goats picking up who-knows-what from some lamp post, a cow walking-by a beauty shop, little chickens running around a “car park” looking for seeds in brick red sand.
Hand-painted advertising of all sorts of brands – those well known and unknown local ones on walls of the buildings, walls which by the way are made out of all sort of stuff – sheds constructed with metal pieces taken from ship containers placed next to some seriously “bad-taste” architecture of semi-palaces guarded by heavily decorated fences.
It is all so full of contrasts, it is vibrant, it is so real, tangible, sensual – like nothing else I ever experienced, nothing else to compare. It is so un-structured, it defies logic and any sense of system with which we (white, middle-class europeans) might be accustomed.
This place doesn’t contain any illusions, nothing here is hidden, everything is raw, out, often painful or painfully beautiful. It doesn’t matter how often I have been here before.
I am here, breathing deeply and again taking it all in, carefully and quietly not to miss anything, but I am never full. It feels so good.
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