1. 'On the road stories and images' Food, food and more food - Gambian style.

    We were fortunate enough to be walking around The Gambia during the harvest season so food was pretty abundant. Our daily staple diet, however, seemed to consist of consuming a lot of tapalapa, which is akin to a french baguette but much denser and heavier (leave it to go dry enough, and with a well-aimed over-arm throw, we probably could have taken out one of the many Red Colobus monkeys we encountered along the way! If we were that way inclined of course!!). But, the bread served as a great source of instant energy when we needed a boost on the road - and, if we were lucky enough to come across a street vendor, we could buy it stuffed with locally made sauce of fried chili, onions, tomatoes, spices and black beans ‘niebbe’. Failing that, tinned sardines, mayonnaise or chocolate spread (a particular favourite of our Gambian team mates!) would suffice.

    And, if we were especially lucky to find it, a steaming mug of instant coffee, mixed with syrupy sweetened condensed milk! *A rare treat indeed!

    Images by: Jason Florio, 2009 - taken whilst on ‘A Short Walk in The Gambian Bush - a 930km African odyssey’

    *coffee made this way is found much more in the Senegal border regions of The Gambia. Coffee drinking is prevalent among the Senegalese. And its not just the drinking but  the ritual of making the coffee the way that they do. This ritual is not dissimilar to how the Gambians make their ‘attaya’ Chinese Gunpowder green tea - pouring the mixture from glass to glass until just so (along with copious amounts of white sugar!).


  2. Our last day on the road unfolds in images of what turned out to be the longest day on the road during the entire 6 weeks of walking around The Gambia, West Africa! As you will see, the cart wheel coming off 3 times throughout the day is the reason we were on the road for almost 24 hours - including sitting around time, waiting for the wheel to be attached - yet again - to the cart!!

    Images: Florio & Jones - Barra to Banjul ferry, Banjul (the capital of The Gambia), Kanifing District, Serrekunda and onwards……..

    December 12th 2009

  3. The expedition team make their nightly camp in the grounds of the Kuntaur Agriculture Station in the Central River Region, The Gambia, West Africa.

    Image: Florio-2009 (B&W)

    It was such a peaceful spot to camp in. Just a few feet beyond our campsite was the beautiful Gambia River. A local woman came along with a bucket of fresh fish that her fisherman husband had just caught. So the watchman’s wife very kindly cooked some up for us - along with onions, tomato’s, spices, chilli and rice. Delicious!

    Neil and (p)Hadley were in heaven too…..surrounded by all that grass and a fresh batch of groundnut hay!

    Distance walked to-date: 659km

    Blog entry: 1st December 2009

  4. Janneh roasts peanuts on the ground, the very traditional Gambian way - i.e. set them on fire! Once they have reached carcinogenic stage, they are ready to eat - pop the shell between your thumbs (there is a knack to opening them without splintering the shell to bits) then pop the tasty little roasted nut into your mouth. We all always end up with black charcoal covered fingers and mouths!

    Image: Florio-2009 ‘on-the-road shots’ The Gambia, West Africa.

  5. Image: Florio-2009 Breakfast on the move, in The Gambia, West Africa

    14th November 2009

    Jones buys tapalapa (local bread) and a delicious traditional bean dish (called nyombeh nyebbeh) for the team from a vendor on the side of the road - ‘mon abatya-tah’ (its very good)!

    Local village women get up during the early hours of the morning to cook the beans with spices, cassava, onions and palm oil, cooked traditionally over a 3-stone fire. The dish is then transferred to a large metal family bowl, covered with a cloth, balanced on their heads and they set out to the nearest main road from their village.

    Often they will take their young daughters with them to help. They find their regular spot on the side of the road (normally in the shade of a big tree as they sun comes up early and it can be in the 90’s by 9am!), sitting among other local women often selling exactly the same food, and wait for locals on their way to work and the tanka’s tanka’s (local mini-bus-like taxis) that come through the villages.

    As we can’t always get this dish - our breakfast usually consists of tapalapa and sardines and if we can’t get sardines, then mayonnaise or chocolate spread (more for the Gambian team members palate than myself or Florio’s). So, to come across the tasty nyombeh nyebbeh is a treat indeed. Hence the beam on my face in this photograph!!

    And the cost of buying 5 of these tasty sandwiches? 1.25Dalassi (1.73GBP/$2.75USD approx) and that feeds and fills the whole team until lunch time!