Stressful departure from Gambia
Trip Start Sep 03, 2010
53Trip End Oct 27, 2010
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While waiting the trouble begins. Just as we arrive and sit down to wait, some very smartly dressed young guys approach us sporting expensive looking watches, Jewellery and a customs officials ID card. Ive seen this dodgy situation before and instantly know what is going on. They’re corrupt officials that have targeted some white guys to prey on for money. We get taken inside a room and have our bags searched. Soon enough they find an excuse and find some of Jays sleeping tablets. To their luck he forgot his prescription and they target this as a massive offence punishable with 3 years of Jail or a 250,000 Dalasi fine (6250 euro).
The discussion goes on for 2 hours on what can be done. Initially 300euros is demanded in return to be let go but after a long back and forth we scrap together what we can and give some 115euros. The most difficult negotiation so far and the most demoralising experience of the trip.
The ferry arrives and its already getting dark, the crossing seems to go on forever as we are in a bad mood. Back in Barra harbour we get another taxi to the border. Luckily no major bribes are asked. The border guards inquire politely about our unhappy faces. We explain our incident at Banjul with disgust and everyone is concerned asking more details and apologising dearly.
Despite this negative experience, the Gambia makes an incredible effort to improve itself and its people have an incredible heart. It does have its negative sides like all other places but it was definitely my number one country in Africa, The smiling bush..