Fake News Saved My Skin

Two weeks ago, I left the gleaming hotels of Serrekunda and the Gambia’s smaller and dustier capital behind:

After a 1.5 hour wait at Banjul’s ferry terminal, I board the car and passenger ferry that takes me North to Barra and West-Central Senegal. The ticket costs 25 dalasi, or 38 UK pence.

At Barra, I find a taxi to take me to the border. He asks for 400 dalasi. I tell him this is far too much. He asks for 450. I negotiate him down to 300 (£4.64). I am confident that this is still too much, but I am tired, and sunburnt, so I accept his offer – quite literally – to save my skin.

Whenever I question him, I get the same answer: ‘Here is very difficult. We have rules and regulations.’ He then tells me a series of untruths and mistruths about Senegal:

  • Senegalese cars are not nice
  • Senegalese cars are more dangerous
  • Senegalese people don’t care
  • Senegalese people don’t decorate their cars

We pass his mum’s house, collect his wife, and drop her home.

I’m rather delighted when we arrive at the border. But I’m not sunburned.

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