. OnHiatus.com > Journal 1 > Day Index > Journal Entry: October 7, 1998

Wednesday, October 7, 1998
Basse Santa Su, The Gambia to Tambacounda, Senegal
The Gambia's FlagSenegal's Flag

Tambacounda, Senegal:
Latitude: 13° 46' 43" North
Longitude: 13° 40' 27" West
Altitude: -10 feet
From Seattle: 6933 miles
Lodging: Hotel - Hôtel Niji

Today's Travel:
Countries: The Gambia, Senegal
Regions: Upper River Division, Southeast Senegal
Route: Camion Bâché: Basse - Velingara; Bush Taxi: Velingara - Tamba
Start: Basse Santa Su, The Gambia
Stop 1. Velingara
End:Tambacounda, Senegal
Linear:72 miles
Weather: Sunny (Hot!)

Click on map to Zoom in...
Trip Stats to Date:
Day: 545
Linear Dist: 126513
Countries Visited: 37
Regions Visited: 157
More stats...
Hotels: 152
Friends / Family: 154
Camping: 42
Hostels: 141
Transit: 49
Other Lodging: 6
Beers: 1978

Journal Entry:
Transport day from hell. Wake up late (same deal as last night, wasn't able to even fall asleep until the a/c kicked in at 9). Andrea came by and we tried to have an early lunch but none of the restaurants (chop houses) had anything ready yet since it was only 11. I went back to the hotel, packed, and checked out. Then we went searching again and finally found one place that had the rice and Domodah (groundnut sauce) ready. The chop shop was particularly nasty, but the rice and sauce was good (and cheap < $.50 each), the meat in the sauce (we decided it was goat) wasn't so great as they just chop up everything and the bone splinters make it very difficult to eat (this is par for The Gambia).

Andrea was able to immediately get a bush taxi for Georgetown (I warned her). I got to the auto park and found a bush taxi to Velingara (just over the Senegal border), all I have to do is wait for it to fill up. Three hours later we're off. I'm sitting on the spare tire with my chin resting on my knees. The dirt track is pretty bad and we have to get out twice b/c the truck can't make it with us in it. The ride is so uncomfortable that I was looking forward to getting stuck so I could get out and stretch. I am amazed that the truck didn't fall apart on the road. Most of the welded seams visible were broken and held together with wire or bits of twine and most of the panels were rusted through. Somehow though we got to Velingara. My face was killing me from wiping the sweat and grit off every few minutes.

From the drop off in Velingara it was a 40 minute walk to the gare routiére where bush taxis leave for Tamba (I would have never found it if some guys hadn't walked me there). There I scored the best seat in the bush taxi (front passenger window)and within a mere 30 minutes we were off for Tambacounda. Good road, comfortable seat with leg room, and the driver seems good - almost feels like I'm back in civilization. I can't believe the number of broken down bush taxis we pass, seems like one every five or ten minutes. The driver always stops to see what's wrong, and we leave our jack with one. In hind sight this was inevitable: thirty minutes later we have a flat. With no tools. Spend a couple hours finding (borrowing / stealing?) tools, then the wheel won't come off. Finally about the same time the mosquitoes finish off the last of my blood the van is ready to go.

Got to Tamba sometime after 10:30. I walk the kilometer to the hotel on the dark streets (thankful for the full moon) and get to my chose hotel about 11. This room has a/c, but it actually works and my room is almost chilly. I was barely able to stand but wanted a shower more than I ever remember wanting one before.

Related Sites:
US State Department Consular Information Sheets: Senegal
CIA World Fact Book: Senegal

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