The flight to Gambia or Bangul airport was from Gatwick London and flying with Monarch leaving at 9:30AM. The flight is 6 hours which is not too long another good thing about taking a vacation in this part of West Africa. Even so I paid a premium for extra legroom. Dinner on the flight was included in the package but any drinks or snacks you had to pay for.
No fuss once we arrived at Bangul straight through immigration control where you are given a 30 day tourist visa. Picked up my case from baggage reclaim and into arrivals where we were met by a local holiday rep from the Gambia experience. The holiday rep directed me to the coach going to the Senegambia in Kololi and stopping off at each of the hotels, Sarjes for me. The sun was shining, it was hot and the sky was blue, this immediately lifted ones spirits.
Keep your face always toward the sunshine – and shadows will fall behind you
The drive from Bangul airport to the Senegambia is around 30 minutes along a road they call the M25. They pull up outside Sarjes and I am the only one staying here with this group. Checkin to Sarjes and taken to my room which is top floor and at then end. Im led to believe the higher up you are the less mosquito’s there are. The room is adequate, the bed comfortable and hopefully the bed would see a lot of action over the next 10 nights…
Its going to cost me an extra 50 Dalasi a day to rent a safe and a 100 Dalasi a day to rent a fan. There is an air conditioner in the room but at this time of the year the Gambian winter it is not necessary as is not humid. If you wanted the air conditioner on that would cost you an extra 500 Dalasi a day! With all those £50 pound notes I bring with me I pay for a safe and decide on a fan as well so this is an extra 1500 Dalasi to cough up. I am already aware that to bring a girl back to Sarjes hotel is going to cost 700 Dalasi, there being a joiner fee.
I decide to exchange £50 at the hotel reception with an exchange rate of 60 Dalasi to £1. Sarjes has a little bar and tried some of their home brew beer called JulBrew which is 50 Dalasi a bottle and is nice and cold. A old British guy at the bar tells me along the strip you can get it for 25 D, so thats less than 50p for a bottle of cold beer, cant be bad.
I order some food fish and chips and sit out by the pool, the food was very good nice a freshly cooked costing around 200 Dalasi for a cooked meal. I notice some vultures on the hotel roof, not something you see back home. Were they waiting for me to be struck down by some disease.… This was a good moment, I had arrived in Gambia and let the fun begin…