GAMBIJA – THE GAMBIA

Veciti predsednik-Eternal President

Veciti predsednik-Eternal President

Glavni grad Bandzul-The capital city of Banjul

Glavni grad Bandzul-The capital city of Banjul

Gradska pijaca-A city market

Gradska pijaca-A city market

Hit frizure-Chic hair styles

Hit frizure-Chic hair styles

Lokalna trijumfalna kapija-A local Triumphal arch

Lokalna trijumfalna kapija-A local Triumphal arch

Mala dzamija- A small mosque

Mala dzamija- A small mosque

Pijaca suvenira-A souvenir market

Pijaca suvenira-A souvenir market

Dzamija kralja Fahda-The mosque built by King Fahd

Dzamija kralja Fahda-The mosque built by King Fahd

Gradski prevoz-Public transport

Gradski prevoz-Public transport

Hit frizure-Chic hair styles

Hit frizure-Chic hair styles

Na putu kroz Gambiju-On the road through Gambia

Na putu kroz Gambiju-On the road through Gambia

Pijaca suvenira-A souvenir market

Pijaca suvenira-A souvenir market

U glavnom gradu Bandzulu-In the capital Banjul

U glavnom gradu Bandzulu-In the capital Banjul

Veciti predsednik-The eternal President

Veciti predsednik-The eternal President

Zemlja u obliku gliste ili slepog creva uvukla se sa Atlantika u drugu zemlju, Senegal, i tako ostala potpuno okružena njome. Nekada su kratko vreme činili konfederaciju, koja se nazivala Senegambija, ali koja nikada nije počela svoj život. I ove granice, kao skoro sve u Africi, nastajale su dogovorima izmedju Engleza i Francuza, posle međusobnih borbi i osvajanja, i to, nakon svega, običnim povlačenjem crte lenjirom, pa granice često tako i izgledaju na mapi. Englezi nisu mogli dopustiti da frankofonska zapadna Afrika bude čvrsto povezana, pa su se uvukli duž reke Gambija i obrazovali svoju teritoriju.

Na svom najširem delu, pre ušća u okean, ova reka izgleda kao Amazon kome se ne vidi suprotna obala, sa ogromnim belim peščanim plažama. Dugi oslikani čamci, piroge, usporeno ploveći, vraćaju ribare na obalu ili prebacuju putnike na suprotnu stranu, koji nikako nisu voljni da se fotografišu. Ipak, sačekam da malo odmaknu, a oni ljutito prete iz čamca. Ovde ljudi iz sujeverja ne vole da se slikaju i, kao mnogi narodi koje je civilizacija zaobišla, misle da će im kamera uzeti dušu. Ipak, preovlađuje mišljenje da se slike sa njihovim „važnim“ likovima prodaju u Evropi, pa su tada, ako im se nešto plati, skloni ustupcima.

Glavni gradić Bandžul je, kako bismo mi to rekli, kasaba afričkog tipa, sa prepoznatljivim uličnim šarenilom, tipičnom pijacom, koja ima zvučni naziv Royal Albert Market, i malim kitnjastim belo-zelenim džamijama zanimljive spoljašnosti. Tu je i  velika gradska džamija, koju u ovom delu sveta obično sagradi neki moćni muslimanski vladar. To je ovde uradio saudijski kralj Fahd. U središtu grada nalazi se prostrani teren za kriket, neposredno pored predsedničke palate, gde je najveća opasnost uključiti kameru. Dugogodišnji predsednik Yahya Jammeh, koga pod čudnim okolnostima uvek ponovo izaberu na to mesto, veoma pazi na svoju bezbednost i voli da sa svoje ogromne terase direktno posmatra utakmicu na terenu pored palate. On ipak ne bio bio afrički predsednik, kad sebi  za života ne bi podigao spomenik. Ovaj u Bandžulu liči na džinovsku dekoraciju za svadbenu tortu i naziva se Luk 22, naravno, po danu kada je Jaja Džame došao na vlast pre mnogo godina. Lokalna trijumfalna kapija dominira svojom grandioznošću u centru grada i deluje veoma neprimereno niskoj i siromašnoj arhitekturi ovog mesta.

U matičnom britanskom kraljevstvu Gambija je poznata po takozvanom seks turizmu, suprotnom od onoga na Dalekom istoku. Iz mnogih većih engleskih gradova čarter letovi stalno dovoze turiste niže klase u hotele za masovni turizam. Tu mnoge Engleskinje doživljavaju svoju ljubavnu avanturu sa lepim gambijskim lovcima na žene, takozvanim galebovima, kao što smo mi nekada nazivali Dubrovčane sličnog zanimanja. Možda i oni pri tome nađu neku svoju priliku da se vinu ka Evropi, jer ljubav ne poznaje granice. Ako im to i ne uspe, oni nastavljaju da naporno rade za svoju zemlju, kao stožeri i aktivni promoteri gambijskog turizma.

Usput, sigurno, nešto i zarade.

Februar 2010.

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A country shaped like a worm, or an appendix, stretching from the Atlantic, has found its way into another country Senegal, and has remained encircled by it. For a while they made up a confederation of Senegambia which never really took off. These borders like most in Africa were agreed between the English and the French, after their wars and conquests, more often than not by just drawing a line with the ruler – so that is why they appear on a map like that too. The English could not allow the West Francophone Africa to stay firmly connected, so they sneaked in along the Gambia River and made it their own territory. At its widest part before it spills into the ocean, this river looks like the Amazon, whose other shore is too far away to be seen, its long white sandy beaches stretching into the distance. Long painted boats, the pirogues, glide slowly, either bringing back the fishermen or taking passengers to the opposite shore; they are all very reluctant to be photographed. Still I wait for them to move away and they threaten me angrily from the boat. People here are superstitious and do not like having their pictures taken. Like many others where civilisation is remote, they think the camera will take their soul. However, the common belief is that the pictures with their ‘important faces’ are sold in Europe, so if they are paid a little money they may relent.

The capital city Banjul, is a Kasbah of an African variety, as we may say, with the usual colourful streets, a typical market which has an important sounding name – Royal Albert Market and small, garish white-green mosques with interesting exteriors. Here is the main city mosque too, which is usually built in this part of the world by a powerful Muslim ruler. In this case, it was built by the Saudi King Fahd. In the very centre of the city there is a vast cricket pitch, next to the Presidential palace, where it is most risky to switch your camera on. The long standing president, Yahya Jammeh, who is somehow always elected again into this position, is very careful about his own safety and likes to watch a cricket match directly below his Palace’s grand terrace. He would not be a true African president if he did not have a monument built during his lifetime. This

one in Banjul resembles a decoration for a gigantic wedding cake and it is called Arch 22;

of course it is the day when Yahya Jammeh came to power many years ago. This local Arc de Triomphe dominates the city centre with its grandeur and it is totally out of sync with the poor, low rise architecture of its surroundings.

Back home in the United Kingdom, Gambia is famous for the so called sex tourism, the one opposite to the Far East sex industry. There are charter flights from major UK cities that regularly take mass tourists to hotels in Gambia. Many English women have their love affairs with handsome Gambian bumsters, women hunters, like we used to call the guys in Dubrovnik with a similar occupation. Maybe they find their chance to get away to Europe, as love knows no boundaries. If they do not succeed in that, they continue to work hard for their country, like its supporting pillars and active promoters of the Gambian tourism.

In the process they surely make some money too.

February 2010

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