Monday, November 17, 2008

From the ocean to my belly in less than 2 hours.

I don't have as much to take pictures of living in "urban" Gambia now, but my favorite new spot is the porch of the Bakau Guest house at dusk, where I can watch a fish go from net to frying pan. Fishworld works like this: The market picks up when the boats come in, boys swimming out with trays to meet them. Gele geles pull up and load their entire bus with fish to take up country. Women gut, clean and fry to sell. "Lincoln" the agressive rasta fish-monger adopted me my first time into the market. I reluctantly became his Kilian when I waded my way through the seafood-seeking masses to discover what had been dragged in that I could possibly cook. He introduced me to the comical and meaty butterfish, with its Bugs-Bunny mouth, which he'll yank filets out of for me in under a minute. What a contrast to the waves of the midwestern grass this summer, where a thousand hours of driving led us to Omaha, America's midpoint, with shrimp on the menu. Perhaps it was brought there by one of the huge farting trucks we'd played leap car with for a day or more on route 80. Whatever its journey, I'm certain it wasn't worth it, only to be limply tossed in a bland buttery bread-crumbed thing to be served after the nachos were all gone.
Now here I might not have the micro-brews or the table service, but I can buy a handful of shrimp, still squirming, with the tide they came in on almost touching my toes.

Friday, November 07, 2008

Presidango Obama be bung kono

Just to give you an idea of the mood over here:
Wednesday morning, the vendors all had their radios blasting with vote counts. They would look up at me, and instead of greeting, would say simply "Obama." Some nodded at me or gave me the thumbs' up, one commented "Africa dingo be white house le saaying" (there's a son of Africa in the white house.) Today is Friday and it continues. Without lifting a finger, Obama has already caused a shift in attitude. They check me for loyalty first, "Mariama, who were you supporting?" If I say Obama, then they give me- and I don't know how anyone knows about this- the victory fist pump. I've met people who don't believe that snow is real, or vending machines, but a black man as president of toubabudu? That's news.