A short walk from our hostel was a patisserie where we got a selection of croissants and danish swirls for breakfast before jumping into a taxi to the bus station. When we got to where it was meant to be it was shut and had been for two years, not the first time the most up too date Lonely Planet guide book has been put of date. We caught another taxi to take us north to the outskirts of Dakar to the major transport hub.
Our transport was a small minibus and we were given the front seats, it looked infinitely more comfortable than a sept-place but in reality it wasn’t much better, especially as we frequently stopped to top up the water in the radiator, at one point when the driver opened the cap boiling water spurted everywhere including liver the seat making it rather damp. Otherwise it was a pleasant journey all the way to the Gambian border.
This land border was a stark difference from yesterday and probably the most enjoyable I have ever done. We were effortlessly stamped out if Senegal and were then ushered, in English (Gambia is an ex colonial country), into the Gambia border post. Everyone was extremely friendly and we weren’t hassled at all. It was quiet, everyone was polite and people queued, all very… British.
We paid $4 for a taxi to take us 25km down the road to the port where we bought tickets for the world’s slowest ferry to get across to Banjul, the capital of Gambia. On the other side we over paid for a taxi to take us a couple of kilometers into the ‘city centre’. I use inverted commas because it was so unlike a city centre it was staggering. It hard the feel (and amenities) of a small town. Our hostel was near the main area but was run down, had no WiFi and had only one other customer. The rest of the city was in just as bad a state. We found only two restaurants in thee whole city still open at 2100 and on our hunt for food we found a lot of places closed permanently, including a 4* beach resort as well as restaurants and shops. The streets were deadly quiet, you wouldn’t have any problem walking down the centre of the road as cars only came past every few minutes. The only thing which looked like it wasn’t in disrepair was an impressive grandstand alongside the main road with a plinth the otherwise which we guessed was the President (although not for much longer) could address his subjects. I have kept a couple of the smaller notes which have his face on as I know come January they will no longer exist. Like Atar in Mauritania it felt as if we had turned up a few years too late.