Wednesday 27 February 2008

18th Feb 08

Date: 18th Feb 08
Location: Bessi, Gambia
Weather: Hazy to start then clear blue skies and sunshine….45°c today! Wicked J
Status: All really good, happy and relaxed in good company!

Left the riverside location after watching the locals haul a huge load of fish from the river including a 50kg specimen which was the biggest he’d ever caught and the pride of the locals!

We headed east along the river along some of the worst roads yet, potholes everywhere, deep ruts and generally followed the sand tracks rather than giving the suspension a good bashing.

Our progress was slow and we managed only 85kms in 5 hours of driving…a taste of whats to come in central Africa!

Decided to try and go for a run today as the training has taken a back seat for the last few days so on the dot of midday with the temp at 42°c I got my kit on, Luke drove, and we headed east on the road through little villages with the people all laughing at me as they relaxed in the shade on their public holiday for Independence Day! Managed about 40mins until the heat became unbearable and then called it a day, very different to training in the UK in Feb!!

Arrived in the town of Mansa Konko where we visited the first of the sites for the VC180 challenge, well tried to visit it! Its one thing to arriving in an African town with the intention of finding the exact site but another totally of getting there. We drove around for a while talking with some of the older people to see if they could remember anything but came up with nothing, so made our way to thr roundabout in the centre to record our position on the gps.

We had our first experience with an AK47 today as well…the military checkpoint on the outskirts of the town was the usual stop and show our papers, except we followed the car in front too closely and were told in no uncertain terms….”you have defaulted me!” so we left with our tails between our legs and headed towards Eddies Bar & Restaurant for our nights stay.

Arrived as the only guests at Eddie’s and were warmly greeted, set up our tent in the car park and spent a few minutes talking to the mother of the owner who offered us a shower and then a free nights accommodation in one of the rooms which we gratefully accepted and sat down for chicken and chips. One of the contractors working here joined us and we got chatting about life and our country and it was good to hear him call the UK ‘the diamond in the white man’s world’, so England’s not that bad then!

Almost forgot to say…we got to another police post today and showed our documents as Luke talked to the second officer. The one I was speaking to had a limited English vocabulary and as we swapped address’s/phone numbers/emails which is usual everywhere you go he said several times “thank you for giving me your details, I love you” which doubled Luke over with laughter! Think he meant I like you, at least I hope so!!

End of day location: Farrafenni, Gambia
Distance covered: 100kms but feels like 300!

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