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Lucy's Adventures

Hey guys! Thanks for visiting. The diary entries are probably way too detailed for most, but the photos are a little better. Please feel free to leave me a message below or email me at Hope you are all well and look forward to hearing from or seeing you soon! xxoo

Diary Entries

Wednesday, 07 February 2007

Location: Fajara, Gambia

Breakthrough this morning as I realised that MRC were doing maintenance on their network so I could access planet ranger. Have pretty much spent the rest of the day trying to upload photos for everyone to see - I hope that you enjoy them!

About to go insane if I spend too much longer here so will probably head out for a drink soon.


Thursday, 25 January 2007

Location: Kartong, Gambia

Woke up this morning to the sound of waves crashing and a surprisingly short wait for breakfast (bread, marmalade and pawpaw). We then packed up and walked for an hour or so down the beach to the nearest town of Kartong. Here we were greeted by the same superstar status as usual (everybody waving, wanting to shake our hands and know our names). There wasn’t a whole lot to see in the town and lots of the kids seemed very bored although the adults were involved in voting for the national representatives election. The market smelt particularly bad and we bought nothing although did find a great art house down the road where I bought a hot plate!

The wait for the bush taxi back to Gunjur was hot and long but once we got going the journey back home was smooth although we were tired from the sun and walking. At Serra Kunda we browsed a few shops in search of some material to buy me for an African outfit and some sunglasses for Nick but in the end didn’t have the energy for the searching or haggling required.

Tasty home cooked dinner and an evening doing chores on the computer.


Wednesday, 24 January 2007

Location: UK

24/01/07 (weds)
Baba called first thing to let me know that (not surprisingly) there was no work for me to do today. After some organizing we decided to try and get visas to head to Senegal. Unfortunately with the elections on tomorrow the president has given everybody tomorrow and the following day off and therefore the embassy initially refused to accept our passports and try to give us a visa. After some serious use of my French degree and a bit of knocking on doors and persistence they finally agreed to take our passports and called us back twice to sort things out, giving us hope that everything would be sorted today.
We therefore had lunch at Le Palais du Chocolat (chwarma, cheeseburger and chocolate pancake all for $7) before heading home to do some serious packing. All packed and ready to go we stopped by the embassy to check if our visas were ready…unfortunately not so we adopted plan B and headed down the coast for the night.

As we decided to take ‘bush taxis’ (old mini vans which serve as half bus half taxi things) the whole journey was rather exciting as we tried to navigate our way around the town, away from the people trying to tell us incorrect information (so as to sell us a taxi ride etc) and to the right bush taxis at each of the transfers.

We finally arrived at our destination (Boboi Lodge) to find that there were no Tree Huts left which was a pity as the bits of corrugated iron and wood in the trees did look quite exciting although our bungalow did look more comfortable. Having definitely earned it we sat down to a couple of ice cold Jul Brews (local delicious and cheap beer). It was then that we met Fay and Rich who had just arrived in from Brighton, England and whom we spent the rest of our night with (every so graciously helping them to relieve the burden of the rum they bought duty free!) We had a delicious Fish Benechin (spicy rice with fish, carrot and potato on top) for dinner (recommended by our new friends) and then joined almost all the waiters and them to watch the Arsenal Tottenham match before heading back for more drinks and great conversation.

Slept very soundly!

Tuesday, 23 January 2007

Location: UK

As Gibbi (head guy for Gambian Cultural Exchanges) asked us to meet at a hotel nearby at 11am for a meeting I spent most of the morning getting ready for the big event. Was anxiously 5 mins late (had to hear Nick’s explanations as to why he couldn’t come) but then waited for another 10 mins for Baba Jammeh (the project manager) and Mr Bah (the secretary) from Santa Yallh to turn up. We then all waited for over an hour for Gibbi to turn up. It was certainly GMT (Gambian Maybe Time).

Unfortunately when Gibbi arrived he informed us that the meeting could not take place as (to be continued!)

Thursday, 18 January 2007

Location: Fajara, Gambia

Spent an hour for the internet to be reconnected at the Business college where Fams works in order to see Santa Yallah Support Society’s webpage which they now want me to update. Unfortunately it doesn't even exist anymore so was not even worth the wait.
When I finally arrived at work there was only Baba Jammeh to be found...apparently 5 others had been sent to the capital as the president thinks that he has a cure for aids which he wants them to try (thus they can't eat for a day or so and must go off their western anti-virals before being retested on Monday - what a great idea!) Apparently if you watched Gambian news ("sponsored" by the government) this miracle president (just voted in for the 3rd time despite spending ridiculous amounts of money putting useless things like zoos and stadiums in his tiny home village) has already cured people who on the news needed help to sit up, he rubbed some cream on them and hey presto - they're cured and want to be released!

On a slightly more frustrating note, Baba invited me in for a long talk to explain to me why they haven't had much work for me. 2 days before I was due to arrive the organisation that I paid the money to (Gambian Cultural Exchanges), told Baba that they were not going to give him the money that they had promised (which was going to come out of the money I gave them to help start micro finance projects). Its totally heartbreaking as I gave them almost an entire Gambian salary and now the people who need it most and who I wanted to give the most to are getting nothing. So we arranged to replace my trip to the market with Gibbi (from Gambian Cultural Exchanges) with a meeting to sort everything out. Fingers crossed we can!

Met a few of the other young interns at the beach again for a few beers and to watch the sunset. Then Nick and I made dinner and had a relatively quite night (except of course for the drink I made people join me in having to celebrate passing CFA level 1!)


Wednesday, 17 January 2007

Location: Gambia

Ridiculously tired after what was a relatively early night last night. Even had to catch a taxi to work which was annoying, not so much because of the cost (only 25 cents!) but because I like the excercise and the taxis are shared if you pay that much and stop and start the whole way down.

At Santa Yallah (where I volunteer) I finished the work that the accountant had left me for his 3 day absence in an hour! Then I spent the rest of the afternoon looking through documents and brochures that the secretary wants me to update. Finished off about 2.30 and walked home (via a supermarket where I got a bottle of vodka for only $3!! Not sure when we'll use it yet but sure we'll find an excuse!) Also found a manicure place for $12.5 so am thinking that I could stretch to that.

Nick was being worked very hard today so I had a seista before going and playing some volleyball. Unfortunately this renowned bastard was there who kept on insulting me for not being as proficient at volleyball as them (funny that - it only being my 3rd game!)

Nick and I decided not to go out tonight but to be bums, eat left overs, and have an early night - absolutely lovely!


Tuesday, 16 January 2007

Location: Gambia

On African time again today so Nick and I waited at Fams' office for an hour and a half before we finally headed off to the Sillah Kunda markets. They were absolutely bustling - just full of people and stalls everywhere. I can't say that I was dying to buy any of the fish or meat which totally lacked protection from the heat, flies and dust, but Nick did manage (with the boys' help) to get some sunglasses for $4! There were lots of clothes, shoes, fruit and material too but we only had an hour there as we had to get in another bush taxi (mini van type bus thing to the nature reserve).

The reserve was in the middle of nowhere and unfortunately most of the really cool stuff we saw (birds, vulchers, hyinas) were locked up behind cages although the monkeys were everywhere and we saw more crocidiles from a viewing platform. At the feeding ground (about 5km in) there was a drink stand and a guy selling these great carvings (of which we bought two!)

From there we went back to the market for lunch which was quite the experience in itself. Apparently this was Gibbi's other favourite place ... although I can't say that I would be queing up to become a regular! You could barely get into the place for all the flies and it almost looked like it was going to cave in! The food that they ordered was one plasas (a better vegetarian version of the beef curry that I had the other day) and one plasas (no words can describe this looks like mashed potatoe but as Nick put it is more like wall paper paste than anything else!) Thankfully Nick was there and we had halved one of each otherwise I wouldn't have had lunch that day!

Monday, 15 January 2007

Location: Gambia

After waiting for Gibbi for an hour we headed off to see a doctor and to thus complete my orientation. Unfortunately it was a terrible order to do things as by this stage I had already worked out that I can drink the water if I want and that I need to sleep under a mosquito net (thankfully by now I've moved out of the accommodation that they arranged for me which didn't have one!) Beside the doctor's place was the largest tree in Gambia – more looks like three huge ones put together so grabbed a snap of that before heading to Santa Yallah support society where I am going to volunteer for the next few weeks.

Unfortunately everyone was out visiting a care house when I arrived at 11.30am and this meant that I wasn't given anything to do until lunch at 1pm. Lunch consisted of me being invited to the back yard where the ladies were crouched around a bowl eating a curry and rice with their fingers. Thankfully they gave me a spoon, but after a large breakfast I wasn't too hungry (that might have also had something to do with the amount of flies and the unusual taste of the curry too!)

Despite everybody else having arrived back they still gave me nothing to do, so by 2 o'clock I decided to head off. To experiment I walked home along the dusty main street which took an hour but was rather tiring due to the strong sunshine. As I was so early I decided to go back to the beach and look for Nick's ring again, and there 2 guys helped me for a while and eventually one helped me try to track down a guy with a metal detector. We couldn't find him today but we arranged for me to meet him again tomorrow so I'm hoping that will be promising!

Found Nick and had a siesta before making dinner and having a quite night of emails and cards. The weather continues to be flawless and the security guards are still trying to teach me phrases in the local dialect. Not a bad life.


Sunday, 14 January 2007

Location: Fajara, Gambia

Today Molly, Tom, Nick and I hit the beach first thing (well...11am anyway!) where it was so lovely we spent the whole day! As it turns out the entrance to the beach is just across the road and we strolled along until we found some very tempting looking umbrellas and lounge chairs. They were all free on the condition of buying a few drinks and at only $2 a beer we were happy to oblige!

During our morning there we had all sorts of people trying to sell us things (towels, peanuts, massages, bags, sunglasses, music, ,fruit salad - you name it, Molly bought the first two and otherwise we left them all very disappointed!) The water was a perfect temperature to cool down after the summer heat (although unfortunately we lost Nick's precious ring when he took it off to go for a swim).

For a (very) late lunch we headed down to a nearby restaurant where unfortunately they didn't have any of their African specialties left, but did have a great indian fish curry for us to share. We stayed there after lunch, drinking more beer, playing chess and reading until the sun went down.

At home Tom cooked us a great meal and we continued to chat and drink until 2am! Could definately get used to this life!


Friday, 12 January 2007

Location: Gambia

Today we woke up, changed rooms (better shower, double bed, non-broken mirror, lockable valuables box that works!) before very quick breakfast and I was off to language training....or so I thought. I waited half an hour at the gate before calling to find out what was happening. During that time the lovely guards on the gate helped give me language lessons! Fams told me that he hadn't heard from Gibbi and that he would call me back so I went and photocopied some more phrases from the guidebooks, checked my emails at the MRC library (Planet Ranger is blocked there unfortunately though!).

Fams called me up and told me to catch a taxi over. I wanted to walk but the gate was shut. Tried to catch a taxi but the first two either didn't understand me or refused to charge me the normal rate of 25 cents for the ride (a local rate - it takes some convincing when you are white in a tourist area!).

Once they finally began (the boys were running a little late again), the lessons were good but difficult. Gibbi didn't really understand that teaching me like 100 phrases in an hour wasn't really enough for them all to stick permanentely, let alone give me enough of a grasp to understand him when he started rephrasing the questions with words that he hadn't taught me!!

Once I had been back for a while Nick finished his ward round and came over for lunch - we went out to by some local bread 'tapa lapa' and made our lunch at home. Then we unpacked into our new room before heading out to meet Fams again for a quick drink and some inside knowledge on where to do our first supermarket shop.

It seems the language lessons paid off because I managed to negotiate our taxis to the supermarket and back quite well. We managed to stock up on most things except fresh fruit and vege which we need to by at the markets. Unfortunately spent a little more than planned as it was WAY cheaper to buy in bulk - hugest bag of rice and tin of tomatoes I've ever bought!!

Once home we meet a new Canadian student staying in our accommodation so we made dinner for us all, played some cards and happily crashed in bed at a very reasonable hour!


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Recent Messages

From Maryanne
Hi Lucy!!! Sorry I haven't been in touch. I promise to do better in future. Looks like you've had an amazing holiday. I can't believe how many places you've already been. Did you manage to fit in any CFA study with all that travelling?! I'm impressed if you did.Good luck in Africa...hope you manage ok without your ghd! Can't wait to catch up again in Auckland and get a full run down on your holiday. Haha next time I see you we will be in suits with very serious business-like behaviour. Scary!!!
Love Maryanne
Response: Hey darling!

So great to hear from you! I'm leaving for Gambia today and you start work very soon and sadly I'm not sure which is scarier! Can't wait to hear about how it goes.

Studied CFA for the entier first week - only time I left the house was to replace the overpriced (and compulsory) calculator I left on the plane!

Definately a stretch without the GHD - actually just not having a hair dryer is bad enough!

Stay in touch,

xoxo Lucy
From mands
Awesome photos Lucy! Looks like you guys are having a ball. Had a quick flick through the NM photos as well - nice photography. Reminded me of what we are about to experience again.... :)
Hope you guys have a wonderful Christmas with the Elks. Will be in touch,
Love amanda

PS As of today am on holiday. YIPEE.
Response: Hey Amans,

Thanks for the message! Glad you like the pics. Send my love to Narls in Noumea - I'll be thinking of you as we wade through the cold London fog!
xoxo Lucy
From A
You haven't up dated this in a while.....what's going on mate?!

Looking forward to the next chapter :)
Response: Sorry! I'm in the middle of exams and will update as soon as they are over! x
From eve
hey i agree with that jessica chick that scott guy is pretty cute. is he single? lol. looks like u had a good time on ob.
From Jessica
Nah sorry but this aint her im just a jessica who was bord one night and found your site somehow and saw your pictures as i have a couple of mates who went on outward bound last year.
Response: Oh, ok. Well glad that you enjoyed the website anyway!
From Jessica
Hey it looks like you had lots of fun on outward bound. that scott guy is pretty cute-who was the lucky girl that got to cuddle up with him during the nite? lol.
Response: I'm seriously hoping that this is Jess Baldwin writing this! Great to hear you are still your old teasing self! xoxo
From Cool site Lucy!
Your site is fun. Mine all "stuffy business!" rsonDetail.aspx?PersonID=5054244

Hope to get back to NZ for another visit soon.
Response: Hey Lew,

Glad that you like my site and New Zealand for that matter! We look forward to seeing you again in the near future!

xoxo Lucy
From Snacky
Awesome website Lucy. Didnt think you would have been the creative type. Keep up the good work. xoxoxo
Response: Hey Snacky! Thanks for visiting! I'm seriously not the creative type unfortunately..unless you count my spelling! xoxox
From Barbara
Hi just caught up on yoyr news.Love all the photos.
Phil has decided to cycle across the USA Seattle to Boston starting in June with 2 friends.They are setting up a website and thought of yours for inspiration.They are paying for themselves but trying to raise money for a charity. will send you the links soon.
Love Barbara
Response: Hi Barbara,
Great to hear from you! When is Phil leaving? It definately sounds like an adventure worth following, you'll have to give me the links! How are the rest of you? Any more pics of the (probably not so) wee one for me to look at?
xoxo Lucy
From Christoph
Hey Lucy,

nice collections of pics!!
I just came back from my springbreak roadtrip in southern California and Mexico. It was aweseome! A couple of weeks ago i was at party in Berkeley, and i met a girl from NZ, who actually knows you!! What a small world! Unfortunately i cant remember her name, i think you lived together...? at least she studied at the same uni like you in NZ, and now she goes to UC Berkeley.

Have a good time, Christoph
Response: Hey Christoph!
You'll have to tell me more about your roadtrip - it sounds amazing! I can't believe how small this world is that you actually met someone in the USA who knew me from NZ! Do you remember anything about her? What she looked like etc? Crazy!
xoxo Lucy
From Arndt
hi lucy,

u didnt expect me to write here i guess! just wanted to know how ur trip was and seeing some photos, but probably you weren t allowed to take your camera with u, were u?
i just finished exams and am working on an uni project now. mel began internship in munich yesterday, so that we are living together for the next months. :) she says hi to you. hope to hear from you,

Response: Hey Arndt,

Can't say that I did expect you to write to me here, but as always it is a very nice surprise! I am so glad to hear that Mel got an internship and that you guys can finally be in the same city again for a while! Sorry that it has taken me so long to put photos up - uni has started and is already very hectic!

Look forward to seeing you both at the end of the year hopefully!
xoxo Lucy
From Nick
Oi! Who's getting at me for being lazy with the updates???? Where are your photos? I miss seeing your activities etc..!!!
Response: Ok, ok, ok! Happy now? Very difficult to put up lots of photos when someone has stolen your digital camera! (I love you! xoxo)
From Gill
Hey lucy!
How is being back home? Got itchy feet yet? Any desire to be back in Europe?
Hope all is well. I'm busy studying away but shouldn't fret in may it'll all be a distant memory and I can start travelling again. Will be over on your side of the world this time!
Gill xx
Response: Hey Gill!
Great to see that you are still logging in every now and then!
I've definately got itchy feet, Nick is in Geneva at the moment and I can't help but be planning a trip over to Europe with him at the end of next year.
When will you be finished and coming to visit us? I can't wait to see you!
xoxo Lucy
From Deepak RAJPUT
We didnt get chance to know each other while u were at HEC..pity! But as I am in the mailing list of international students so I keep getting ur emails. It nice to read that you had great time here in France. saw some of ur pics....nice! Now, I am in internship year and learning french before I start working.
keep writing...
warm wishes,
Response: Hey Deepak,
How are you? Good to hear from you. Where are you working at the moment?
xoxo Lucy
From Harry
Dear Lucy,
nice to hear from you again. Your diary is perfect. Arndt is going tomorrow to Munich. He works for three months at a bank.
In one year you have seen and learned more than I in my lifetime.
If you are once in Germany again,you can come to us everytime.
Sincerely yours,
Response: Dear Harry,
Great to hear from you as always! How are you all? Arndt seems to be enjoying himself in Munich which is great. We're good hear but still waiting for your visit! Can't wait to see you all again someday soon. xoxo Lucy
From Stéphanie
Hi Lucy,

How 're you doing? Hope you're having a great time in NZ and a lot of fun!
Tu nous manque beaucoup et on pense très fort à toi!
Ici, juste pour te faire enrager un petit peu, il fait super beau et le thermomètre dépasse systématiquement les 30 degrés... Alors n'hésite pas à refaire un petit tour apr Paris dès que l'été te manquera trop... Et cette fois pas avec les Emirates ;-)
J'espère à tèrs bientôt par mail! et encore bravo pour ton site , je l'adore,
Response: Salut ma poule !

Comment ça va ? Merci pour tes nouvelles ! Moi aussi, vous me manquent beaucoup, et j’ai hâte de vous revoir ! En effet, l’hiver à Dunedin ne fait pas assez nul que j’avais prévu, il y a même un peu de soleil aujourd’hui ! Pourtant dès que possible je vais vous rendre visite, je te fais promis ! Est-ce tu rame toujours ? Ça me manque aussi ! Bisous, Lucie
From Barbara
a cd of Italy and Oxford would be great.Thank you.
How much longer do you have in france?
Response: Hi Babara,
I will get a CD on its way as soon as I can get Nick and mum's photos. Back in New Zealand now and just getting myself sorted for heading back down south to continue my degree.
From Tamsin
Hi Lucy,
Hope you have fully recovered from your stomach bug. It might be just about time for you to go back to NZ? Only 3 weeks now til I leave for Europe. I have set up a planet ranger site and stated adding to it now in the lead up to departure - it is:
Response: Hey Tamsin,
Back in NZ now, and I guess you must be in Europe! So gutted that we didn't manage to cross paths over there. Already seen your site and it looks like its of to a great start! Can't wait to watch the rest of your travels unfold. Keep safe.
xoxo Lucy
From marie
ton site est GE-NIAL!!!! (j'écris un mail en français pour le souvenir...) j'espère qur ton expérience en France a été positive et que tu reviendras nous voir en Europe bientôt. Je rergette seulement de ne pas t'avoir plus connu car tu es quelqu'un d'exeptionnel! vraiment! Je t'embrasse trsè fort et te souhaite un bon retour chez toi. Gros gros bisous
Response: Salut Marie,
Merci pour ton mail! C'est sûr que mon expérience en France a été positive - mais plutôt quelque chose d'ouf! J'aurais aussi voulu de passer plus de temps avec toi et Thomas, vous étes trop sympa! Mais à la prochaine fois! Merci encore une fois, pour tout que tu as fait pour moi.
From Barbara
Many Congratulations on the win!
Love all the photos of Italy and France.
Response: Thanks Barbara! Glad you liked the photos, please let me know if you want mum and I to send you a CD of our photos from Naples or any I took in Oxford. xoxo
From A
Hey L and N,
Your travels make interesting reading. Wish I was there with you :)
All good here - life is back to normal now that the video has been made. Will be interesting to see how it comes out.
Would be more than happy to lend you 27 kids.....just name your day.
Look forward to hearing from you soon,
Response: Hey Amans,

Wish you could have been here with us too!! Glad to here that life is settling down again, and that you've still got willing labour on tap! Look forward to seeing you soon (less than 3 weeks till I'm home - can you believe it!?!). xoxo Luce
From Barbara
Great to see the photos
Where are you now?
Response: In Provence with mum and dad! Sorry we haven't had internet access for a while to keep you more up to date!
From Tamsin
Wow the amalphi coast is breathtaking! Your hair looks good long too by the way!
I am definately going to set up planetranger site b4 i go o/s and keep people posted on our adventures in Austria/Czech Rep/Slov/Hung/Rom/Slovenia/Croati- a/Greece/Turkey/Egypt/Uk /Dubai/Singapore! Your site is quite an inspiration :)
Response: Hey Tamsin! Gosh you must be getting so so excited now! Can't wait to see your site, hear your tales, and hopefully catch up with you one day in the near future! xoxo
From amanda
Hey mate!
Nice work - have seen the proof. Your web page has made it! When does the movie get made??
Hope you are enjoying all your travels. Say hi to Nick.
Love Mands
Response: Hey Amans,
Thanks for the visit! Sorry to keep missing you on the phone, will try again back in Paris. Hope school is good, might have to get some of your kids to help me make a movie! Nick sends his love.
xoxo Lucy
From Tamsin
Hey Lucy,
I haven't checked out your site for ages and wow it sure has grown! Your trip sounds fantastic and your photos are brilliant. I will be arriving in Vienna in early July - so excited to be going travelling again.
- Tamsin
Response: Hey Tamsin,
Great to hear from you. Glad you like the website, you should definately do one for your trip too (the first 100 photos are free and its a great way to stay in touch). Wish I was still going to be here when you arrive. Safe travels,
xoxo Lucy