#Love4Gambia – March 11 – Rest Day 2
And another day ends with a sunset over The Gambia river. Back to bicycling tomorrow- up at 430 to hit the road by 6 am-ish. That way we get an hour of biking before sunrise. Thank goodness LukeMacDonald has fancy-schmancy helmet lights and there is a van behind us
Although we had the luxury of sleeping in, I awoke at my usual 5:30. The air was palpably cool! I haven’t seen a thermometer here (who needs it?) but the smartphone weather app stated the low temperature in nearby Soma was 18 degrees and I believe it. I also had a marginal 2G connection so I did emails for an hour. Seems to be better in the am.
Our team had a novel breakfast of pre-packaged egg noodles garnished with sardines and a side of spam. Not to my liking so out came the peanut butter. After breakfast, we went on a spectacular adventure; a boat ride across the Gambia River to the north side then up a meandering wide creek graced with gorgeous birds. They objected to our presence by gracefully flying away. We’ll post some photographs. We saw 27 different birds including pink-backed pelicans, the African darter with its snake-like neck, the goliath and squacco herons, the Harrier hawk, the white-throated bee-eater, the rose-ringed parakeet and the whimbrel. Note to future travellers: bring binoculars and a camera with a telephoto lens; a smartphone won’t cut it. Our three-hour excursion ended with children asking us for money for sweets but receiving Canada pins instead. They seemed placated but then again, Gambians are very polite. We swam, had lunch and caught up on various tasks including preparation for a major media upload once we find a 3G connection. If you see new pictures today, then you’ll know we succeeded!
In the evening we went into Soma for our marathon social media session. Everyone had their smartphones out, updating Facebook and Twitter, and Joanne and I had our Macs out so we could update our email and Dropbox folders (imagine me, a Windows fanboy, saying I have a Mac!). We had a gigabyte of video to upload and 2-3 gigabytes of photos, and that’s after compressing them. It was too much for even the mobile 3G session so we had to try something different. I went to a shop called Gamcell, which has a bunch of computers hardwired to the internet. I stuck in a flash drive, copied the files to the desktop, started an uploading program (Chrome extension Speed Uploader) and went to supper. One hour later, I went back to the shop to find out that some boys had logged me out. I gave the attendant 50 dalasis (usual rate is 20 Dal/hr), asked him to leave the computer on all night and left. We drove back, exhausted by our four hour internet ordeal and went to bed, except for Sana and Mario who packed the van so we could have an early start.
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