Friday, 7 June 2013

The Gambia, Sierra Leone, Liberia and Nigeria

Africa-Gambia-Banjul   Getting a card to make Banjul to look good would be a challenge.  Most tourists stay out in the beach resorts just outside the capital city. The Gambia is the smallest African country. It is often said the The Gambia is West Africa for beginners. It was my first stop in West Africa many years before this trip. I felt I had arrived in real Africa. The river Gambia is the main attraction and I took a boat trip down it.  

I had known that The Gambia like some other countries had issued some gold foil stamps . These were on sale at the GPO in Banjul. They had a selection of stamps on sale in a book . So you just pick as you wish. I could not resist this Elvis Presley stamp. However I was unsure if it would get through the post intact. Well as you can see it did. 

Africa-Sierra Leone-Freetown  Well you would not know from this postcard this was Freetown. Finding a postcard here is a task in itself. Up in the hills,  of the better part of town where I stayed will you see houses like this. The town was a little chaotic . This country in high on my corruption list . I met the head of Tourism and arranged to visit the Chimpanzee Sanctuary just outside Freetown. He came along and tried to tell me we needed special permits and so on. When we got there we found none needed. When I dropped the Tourism official back to his office he demanded to be paid for taking the day off work ! Needless to say he got no joy from me. 

I remember the GPO in Freetown very well. It is a large building , much too big for the  business that post offices now do. I arranged to meet the post master and he showed me the large collection of stamps they had for sale. Very friendly . 

Africa-Liberia-Monrovia    Well I can tell you Monrovia does not look like anything like  this postcard. This is from a bygone area. When here , no electricity most everywhere. Going into the main department store to find a postcard I was handed a flash light to go shopping. I did find postcards but all of Giraffes which they don't have here in any big numbers. This is the best I could do. Postcards from the 1970s. Most buildings were still in the same condition after the war had ended and had yet to be repaired or fixed up. Every one speaks English here , very well . 

A bit of a story at the Post office. I had gone there on Monday morning first thing for 8.30am. My flight has been brought forward to a earlier time and I had to be gone out of the post office at 9.15am to get to  the airport for my flight . The post office was open ,but the lady with the key for the stamps had not arrived. So I waited and waited. No sign.. So in the meantime I got chatting with the counter staff who had no stamps. At 9.15. as I had to go, I arranged with one of the counter staff to put stamps on my postcards. I paid the friendly post official about 10 USD and told her to keep the change. I took some photos and told her not to put my postcards in the bin, as I would be back..!!! Well surprise surprise they arrived . Here we have the new president Ellen Johnson Sirleaf. 

Africa-Nigeria-Lagos  This was the last leg of this African trip. Visiting Nigeria and Lagos in particular we had seen little or no tourists on this trip. In the Sheraton the manager came over and gave me a glass of champaign when I told her I was a tourist in Lagos. She told me she had been there 5 years and had not met a person who had said they were a tourist. The planned trip to Nigeria had changed as could only visit Lagos and nearby areas. The other areas down by the Delta were now not safe to visit. This city had the worst traffic in West Africa. You will see cars driving on the footpaths. Getting anywhere took a lot of time . 

I had sent 3 postcards from 3 different locations and this is the one that made it home. I had sent some from the main General Post Office in Lagos and a smaller Post office  outside town. None of them have seen the light of day. This card was posted in the Philatelic section at the rear of the main post office. The postmark looks unusual as it just has a Lagos postmark and no Nigeria. 

4 comments:

  1. That's one great Elvis stamp. A GEM, for sure.

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    Pincodezone

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