Departed 16/10/12: Gatwick Airport, UK – on a very cold October early morn
Arrived 16/10/12: Yundum International Airport, The Gambia, West Africa – on a bi candita baci (very hot!) October mid-afternoon
We were dreading our arrival into The Gambia – only in the respect of going through customs with all our luggage + two canoes…we were a custom officers dream – and our nightmare. So, imagine our complete delight to see a pretty young Gambian woman, holding a card up with our names written on it, on the luggage pick-up side of the customs barrier! Fotou, from the Gambia Tourist Board had come, permission letter in hand, to guide us seamlessly through customs – bypassing masses of bemused (and some, I swear, looking downright hostile), hot and sweaty tourists waiting in line, as we swanned through the barrier, on the coat tails of the GTB; with not even a peek in our ‘heavy weight’ bags. Thank you to the Director General, Benjamin Roberts, Lazar and Fatou, of the GTB, for facilitating our extremely easy entry into The Gambia. ‘Welcome to the smiling coast’ – it was indeed.
We were met in arrivals by ‘Tajin the Birdman’. Not only is the ‘Birdman’ an extremely knowledgeable ornithologist (he has even presented on the subject at schools in Norfolk, UK), but he also has a mini-bus to transport all our gear – and, not only that, he is an amazing source of information, having travelled to some of the areas we are about to , in Senegal (thanks to our friend, Owen, for the intro)
So, here we are, ensconced at Sandele Eco Retreat – with big thanks to old friends, Geri and Maurice – enjoying a few short days of luxury: electricity, running water – hot water too! and the Atlantic Ocean, within spitting distance. It doesn’t get much better than this. Actually, we hope it will (no disrespect to Sandele)…once we start the River Gambia Expedition proper.
An update and a few words of thanks, from us two (and, introducing the Sandele cat) to everyone who made this happen.
More updates coming as soon as – such as meeting up with our old friends, and Gambian team mates, Abdou & Ibu, on Friday. So, please keep checking in.
The Florios (H & Flo)
P.S. And, if you want to see where we are on the map, right now, check out our Yellowbrick Tracking webpage here