Jon Does Gambia: Day 6 "Dinner With Expats"

Our Swedish hosts have a lovely home in The Gambia

Our Swedish hosts have a lovely home in The Gambia

Today was supposed to be another really warm day. We were ready for it. A few days ago while Amat and I were walking from the market, we bumped into a couple that Amat knew from Sweden. They live here in The Gambia now and were very friendly. They invited us all to dinner. All of us? I was looking forward to this dinner the entire day.
Of course we began by hanging out by the pool. Bash tested all possible limits as he does. Alli constantly asked me to watch her make tiny jumps.

       - Titta Daddy, titta!

Alli making it hard to just chill by the pool

Alli making it hard to just chill by the pool

I can tell her I’m looking a million times but it doesn’t matter. She still asks me to look. But she wouldn’t know I’m looking because she’s not looking at me. She’s focused on her little jump, yet yelling at me.

       - Titta Daddy!

We got to the room and winded down after showers. We wanted to go to the market, but word was it took hours to do that and bringing kids was a bad idea. We were told that the paths were very narrow and one could lose their child. The thought of trying to get Bash to stay with Mom and Dad was as stressful as actually trying to get him to stay with us. 

There was hair braiding going on today. A woman was in the hotel hooking up some of the ladies. We had talked to one of the juice boys by the beach about getting someone to do Bash’s (if he would sit still). We’ll see about that. 

Lunch would be light. We needed to save food for our Swedish-Gambian dinner experience. The hotel taxi guys were glad to take us to our friends. It was cool to see the guys trying to quickly freshen up the vehicles before the Europeans got it. They wiped down the seats and held the doors for us. I chatted with the bike man while we waited. He would help me out if I wanted to do a bike excursion. I wished I had a picture of my bicycle back home collecting dust. Biking just isn’t my thing, man. And there was no way I was biking on this terrain here. I’d quit way before what I had done could be considered an “excursion”. 

Bash and me from the back of the jeep

Bash and me from the back of the jeep

Our group got the jeep. None of the vehicles felt less safe than this one. I’m in! We piled in and began the short journey. We bounced around and hid our fear behind nervous smiles. The driver was nice and gentle. We had brought a case of beers for the dinner. That was the least we could do with them preparing for all of us. The car with the beer drove off with the beer in the trunk. No, we can’t come empty-handed! The last driver said he’d send the guy back. I was half certain we’d never see those beers again. If he wasn’t back in 15 minutes we’d go to the store.

The house was beautiful. Two floors with a rooftop terrace. The dome at the top gave a palatial feel to the place. The Swedes were living large! I took a picture of the house and then looked to my right only to find a large cow slowly making his way down the dirt road. This was my reminder of where I was. 

The driver sped into the picture again and smiled at us as he popped the trunk to give us our case of beer. What a nice thing to do. He bid us farewell and sped off. Now we could go in and check out the palace!

The view from the roof

The view from the roof

The home was beautiful! Large rooms and open space. Tiled floors. I was reminded of Miami again. Hearing the Swedish chatter in a residential setting was comforting. It felt like home. I leaned over the wall of the rooftop terrace and watched the kids were running around the yard at full speed. The kitchen was buzzing with food prep. It was like a Saturday barbecue in Miami without Frankie Beverly blasting and an uncle dancing at the grill.

The grill was on, though. Fresh fish was on the menu and was seasoned and ready to grill. I was glad about my light lunch. Dinner was going to be delicious.

We feasted. There was fish, rice, salad, roasted vegetables, drinks and sauces. Swedes are known for being cold and keeping their emotions hidden, but that does not hold true at the dinner table. Combine that with their analytical nature and you have one entertaining dinner. Every person hummed their approval between bites and made sounds of arousal. Then someone would describe exactly why the one thing was delicious. Another person would agree and then give their analysis.

       - (between bites) Gud va gott! Det smälter i munnen. (My god, this is good! It melts in your mouth).

       - (between bites) Mmm, Så gott med grillad mat. Mört kött är det. (I agree. Grilled food i delicious. The meat is so soft.

I chuckled as I enjoyed quietly. Swedes let you know when the food is good. If you cook for Swedes and no one is talking about the food then know that it’s not that good. This food was amazing. And there was enough fish for a second round. The excitement about this fact was palpable.

What’s cuter than kittens and babies?

What’s cuter than kittens and babies?

Bash and Alli couldn’t hang anymore. They drifted off and we lay them on the couch. Then the kittens that had been prancing about came to join them. We were worried at first that Alli was in danger until we realized that they just wanted to snuggle. It was the cutest thing ever. We re-positioned the kittens so Alli could breathe. Though cute, they hadn’t thought about that part. Now it was all good. The babies and kittens could sleep in peace. 

This was a lovely evening. I couldn’t thank our hosts enough. The food and company was great. Another wonderful night in The Gambia. Our trip was almost over, but I was already trying to work out when I could come back.

The message on the glasses made me laugh

The message on the glasses made me laugh

Now it was time to go out and party. What was the scene like in The Gambia. Amat met me by the poolside and we headed out. We got a taxi and headed to SeneGambia. There was a strip of clubs and bars here. It was early in the night to party, but we didn’t have much time.

We went to a club and got a couple of drinks. The bartender that served us had to be the least knowledgeable bartender I’ve ever seen. She had never heard of a gin and tonic! There were at least three bottles of gin behind her and there was tonic at the bar. Somehow she hadn’t heard this combination before. I was amused and impressed.

The DJ was… interesting. I think he was trying to get the party going before the party arrived. Nobody wants to hear turn-up music at 10pm. We had a good time though. The glasses had an interesting message on them that reminded me of what guys might say after buying a lady a drink in America. I chuckled with each sip.

The party was just getting started as we left

The party was just getting started as we left

My psychopath of a trainer showed up ready to have fun. We got more drinks in and the DJ switched out to someone good. Swedish hip-hop was playing and the place was filling up. People were dancing to “Helt Seriöst” Unfortunately we needed to go home. We’ve got babies to take care of. We rode home and reflected on another wonderful day. Lucky Amat had another week in this country. I was almost out of here. Gotta enjoy these last moments. Until next time…

Until next time…