Published: July 2nd 2007July 2nd 2007
The Gambia synthesizes in few thousands of Km² all defects and virtues of the young independent Africa. On one hand it builds a tourism industry thanks to the callback of kilometers of white beaches and iridescent markets, on the other one, seems incapable to fulfill whichever undertaken plan, including the one of a repressive dictatorship. You get a first morsel as soon as you reach the border, arriving from Senegal. In that country, agents wear uniform and are efficient (by African standards) in carrying on their duties. On this part of the line, instead, customs officers show up in worn out uniforms lacking of identification or flatly in civilian clothes, and every encounter with those who have had the bad luck to be born white seems necessarily to be concluded with the passage of some banknotes from the wallet of this into the officer’s one.
Countries ruled by dictatorial regimes are notoriously places where foreigners are treated with white gloves as far as these keep their noses out from internal political matters. Cuba, China, former USSR, Saddam’s Iraq: all examples of dictatorships that misusing police power succeed in creating an apparent, false paradise for tourists (albeit built in spite
of local’s civil rights). But not in Africa. Here people don’t give a damn of who is in power, being a colonial power, a democracy or a dictatorship. The natural African passivity lets historical buildings and railroads falling apart, but does the same with tyrants.
Passed without expenditures the elated bribing attempt, I entered into the true Gambia, a Country entirely developed on the two sides of the homonymous river in the same way of what happened with the ancient Egyptian civilization on the Nile banks. To reach Banjul, the administrative capital, you have to cross the mouth of the river, half an hour ferry ride. On board, just about anything is sold (and bought): counterfeit watches, counterfeit T-shirts and Chinese crap of any imaginable kind. It always surprises me to observe how those who have less seem to make a point in demonstrating that can allow themselves to spend in the most useless ways.
Banjul is built on a island, not even a large one, and that explains perhaps the relative, unusual tranquility that you can feel. The unusual absence of hasslers, swindlers, pimps and whores has but one explanation: Senegambia. This is a long, narrow strip,
approximately 10 Km, developed along the coast starting from Bakau Cape, at the mouth of the Gambia river, up to Kololi, true heart of this spiritless body. Everything is synthetic here. True Africa seems thousands of kms away. All buildings are freshly whitewashed, most stores sell western products (at western prices) and even rubbish by the roads is present just in minimum amounts. And the hassler’s party has here absolute majority. And it is here that old (or aged) European ladies come looking for a balm for their soul's wrinkles.
One always hopes that full gender parity will be achieved through the improvement of man, not thanks to the barbarization of woman. That will be the former to stop thinking with their testicles, not that latter to start hiring whores. Then you arrive in Gambia and discover that 3 tourists out of 4 here are sad, worn out white women accompanied by athletic young black men, thirty years their younger. l’amour?
I had read some time ago on this same site an interesting blog (Interview with the Sex Tourist
) about sex tourism in the Philippines, the male version of what happens here in Gambia. From there the idea
of writing something on the same wave. Only problem: in that case the author (aspiringnomad
) had the chance to speak from man to man
with the sexual tourist. Belonging to the same sex created a sort of complicity that I could never achieve here with the SHE sex tourist. Limits of gallantry would have prevented me to approach one these elder ladies and ask her: “Excuse me, are you here ‘cause you are desperate?” No, I had to find an alternative way.
The occasion arrived a few days later. I was taking a stroll along Kololi beach, maybe not one of the world wonders, but surely well worthy of attention. And instead it was absolutely deserted. It is true that was off season, but is equally true you could still meet some tourists in bars and hotels. My initial wonder in being all alone on a wide white sandy beach lined with coconut palm trees, starts to gradually fade away as consequence of the constant, repeated attacks of a truly horde of nagging beach boys
of all sorts. One hour later I was already totally aware that I would never again set foot on that beach. I stop to
rest in the shade of a palm tree when the last and most persistent of the hasslers, such Ibrahim, approached me.
If you get boarded while taking a walk, you simply continue walking and after a few steps you will be left alone: walking is working. But if you are sitting under a palm tree, your chances to get back to your peaceful loneliness any soon are really low. And in fact, there was no way to get rid of Ibrahim. He had introduced himself and made himself comfortable next to me uninvited and was already singing the usual tourist charmer litany. He had the healthy aspect typical of who does not work but eats well: tall, broad, tightly dressed in a red shirt fits to evidence the shapes of his masculinity, tattooed on both biceps. Some thirty years of age, maybe less, and an almost perfect white smile only slightly ruined by an excessive gap between the two central upper incisors. And indeed I could not understand where was he trying to get with his eloquence. Perhaps my by now muezzin
style beard was not good enough as a clue to make him understand that I was not
a woman? Or maybe Ibrahim was a progressive who indifferently served males and females like modern hairdressing salons?
Surely, his oratorical abilities were remarkable and now he was telling me of his leisure trips to the United States and England. He spoke of it with such minutia about details that two could be the cases: either he was inventing everything, in which case he possessed an imagination worthy of the best novelists, or indeed he had being touring such countries and therefore what he must possess was the ability of living thanks to other’s wallets, even a more exceptional dowry.
I let him going on for a while, by now I was not even bothered by his intrusiveness. Then, I openly asked him what did he want to sell me. His reaction was one of (well) simulated disdain, as to say “I speak with open heart and you pay me back in such currency”. He even made a move to stand up and leave, insulted. But he didn’t go. And then was when the idea that Ibrahim could help me came to my mind.
I told him to cut the charade short and that I knew types
like him. Those who have understood that sweet-talking tourists pays more (and cost less) than working. That I had long ago reached the same conclusion and that therefore I did not blame him. But also that being in a way colleagues
he could not play this kind of card against me. Finally, I proposed him a transaction, an honest sale: he would have granted me an interview satisfying certain curiosities of mine about sex trade for ladies in Gambia, I would have paid the information 500 dalasi (ca.17€). Ibrahim listened to the proposal with diffidence, but to the news of a reward his pupils contract like those of an eagle who has just sighted a wild rabbit in a clearing underneath.
This is a resume of the consequent conversation.
Ibrahim: “Are you a journalist?”
Marco: “Same level of curiosity, but nobody pays me.”
I: “A policeman?”
M: “Do I look like a policeman?”
I: “Not all policemen look like policemen.”
M: “OK, true, however No, I’m not a policeman. I couldn’t.”
I: “Why couldn’t you?”
M: “Because a policeman must be either completely straight or completely crooked.”
I: “And are you not completely straight?”
M: “I’m flexible.”
I: “Then you work for a NGO?”
M: “For a NGO? A volunteer? Me? You must be joking. I can hardly bear the idea of working for a wage, left alone doing it for free. Anyway, the idea was that I asked the questions, not the contrary. If we go on this way, it will be you the one who has to pay me.”
I: “OK then, let’s start. Advance payment.”
M: “Yes, and my ass is hairless. First you tell me an interesting story, then you will have the 500 dalasi.”
I: “Let’s make 800.”
M: “Let’s make 200.”
(Ibrahim’s giggle of complicity. He then brings his right fist against mine and then to his chest)
I: “OK chef, 500.”
M: “Let’s begin. Are you Gambian?”
M: “How long have you been working
here in Senegambia for?”
I: “6 years.”
M: “Good money?”
I: “Good enough.”
M: “How good?”
I (smiling): “More than 500 dalasi per day.”
M (smiling): “I like people with sense of humor. On the other hand, I’m sure that with that other kind of customers your energies consumption would be proportionally higher.”
(other giggle, other fist against fist and to his chest)
M: “Where do you find customers?”
I: “At the beach by day, in the bars at night.”
M: “How do you select potential customers? I mean, in high season I guess there will be plenty of white women over here”
I: “Oh, yes, plenty. However, it isn’t difficult to understand who is here to sunbath and who is here for… (winking and giggling)”
M: “How do you understand it?”
I: “Those who come for the men always travel alone and usually are between 40 and 60 years old. And also you see that they are looking for something. I don’t know. After a while you understand it by instinct.”
M: “And once you have chosen the potential customer?”
I: “I approach her with a pretest and start making conversation.”
M: “Yeah, I had noticed you have no shortage of vocabulary.”
(other giggle, third fist against fist)
M: “However, this is the same system used by beach boys
everywhere in the world. Tell me something that I don’t know. After you have chatted her up, what do you do? You show her your brochure
inclusive of services and prices and say that don’t accept credit cards?”
I (serious): “Absolutely. Never talk about money to a lady. If she is a young one, you can go and propose sex for money, and sometimes it works. But never with a lady.”
M: “I don’t understand. If you don’t tell them or make them understand that you are a gigolo then what happens when the time for the… bill arrives?”
I (smiling again): “50 years old ladies don’t come here to have sex for money. They come here because they are lonely. If you go and propose her to fuck in return for 50£ you are not offering them what they are looking for. It is all here (tapping his temple with his index finger).”
M: “OK, I’ve got the concept now. Still I do not understand where is your gain in all this. And don’t tell me you do it for free, someone must pay for your clothes and for your travels.”
I (maliciously smiling): “One thing is not to ask for money beforehand, a different thing is that they always end up paying you.”
M: “Therefore it is not just sex?”
I: “No. During their holiday you are their full time boyfriend
. That’s what they were looking for. Then there is also sex, obviously.”
M: “OK, so, if I correctly understood these ladies don’t come here just to fuck?”
I: “There are also some of that type. They come for shorter periods and they spend most of their time in hotel and when they want to fuck they just send to call a gigolo (or two). But I don’t work in that business.”
M: “Why not?”
I: “Too complicated, you need to work for an agency and you earn less than working by yourself.”
M: “A curiosity: the greatest part of women I see here around are definitely not very attractive, have you ever had problem for… (raising my eyebrows)?”
I: “Never. Sometimes, if I feel tired, I eat turtle dick and everything goes all right.”
M: “Turtle dick?”
I: “Yes, is good for… (movement of his forearm from horizontal to vertical position).”
M: “And, how do you eat turtle dick? No, don’t tell me, I don’t want to know. Let’s remain in the gore
field. How old was your oldest customer?”
M: “What??????? Fuck. I bet that a big wave of turtle’s castrations must have swept the Gambian seas at the time!”
M: “Never mind, surreal humor. One more thing: have you ever fallen in love with any of your customers?”
I: “In a way, I love them all.”
M: “And them?”
I: “Most of them, I think.”
M: “One last question, Ibrahim: Do you think these ladies know you are a gigolo or genuinely believe you are their fiancée?”
I (smiling): “Everyone believes in what he wants to believe it is the truth.” ITALIANO
La versione italiana di questo blog la trovi sul sito Vagabondo.net
Link: Turismo Sessuale Mandinka per Signore