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...two travellers in search of the world's wildlife

1 January 2016

Jinack Island

24 December 2015Urchins

The two main export crops of Jinack island are marijuana and oysters. That’s pretty whacky. We learned this while walking with Amadou to the village across the island (his village, as it turned out) for a boat trip into the mangroves. We also discovered that 15 minutes is always an hour, as when we got to the river there was no boat for us, but it would just be 15 minutes. Which turned into an hour. This is exactly what happened yesterday while waiting for our boat to Jinack; Amadou said he just needed to pop to the market for 15 minutes. Humph.

And so we waited by the river in the village for a boat that took over a hour to show up. Maureen was chatted to relentlessly by a slightly odd fisherman with almost no English while we both did our best to ignore the rotating cast of little kids gathered around curiously (though of course being careful not to ignore them so much that we might be seen unaffected by the cute liddle mites).

Waiting for the boatYeah, sorry, we’re not the “aww, lookit the lovely children!” breed of tourists. We’re just not. I guess part of it stems from having visited other parts of the world (India, Nepal, Turkey) where the kids are only friendly because they want money or sweets. But neither of us are very good at talking to kids even back home in England, and having the additional problems of a language and cultural barrier just makes the whole thing excruciatingly awkward.

Language barrier, by the way. The Gambia’s official language is English but it’s not that simple. Everyone speaks their own tribal language; Mandinka, Wollof, or a half-dozen others. And then most adults have varying degrees of English, running from “hello, my name Janko” up to fully fluent but with a thick accent. The kids don’t seem to have much beyond “hello, my name Janko”.

The mangrove trip was pleasant, though mammal-free, as was the walk along the beach that we took this morning. And so on to today’s list; things seen on a walk along
Jinack beach.

  1. Sea urchins
  2. Plastic bottles
  3. Broken flip-flops
  4. Cows
  5. Fragments of buckets
  6. Tiny goats
  7. Fragments of foam matress
  8. Old rice sacking
  9. Crabs that scuttle into holes in the sand on approach
  10. Tangled fishing net bundles
  11. A dead fish
  12. Boisterous dogs
  13. Driftwood
  14. Tiny birds that like chasing the waves
  15. More plastic rubbish (especially broken flip-flops)

Cows on the beach

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