The sushi was surprisingly good. Not cheap, but then sushi never is. A healthy dose of natsukashii as they say in Japan. As was the game of squash preceding it. Not a bad way to spend yesterday evening.Who would have thought that Liberia had a squash club? The annual tournament winners board dates back to 1976, but since 1995 the names no longer appear. Playing squash probably didn’t figure in the minds of many club-members when gun-fire ruled the streets of Monrovia.

Liberia Squash Club

Squash and sushi, surreal as they still sound to me here in Monrovia, were an unexpected way to celebrate a year on the road. On the evening of August 16th 2009 I was enjoying a few farewell drinks before wheeling my bicycle off the south coast of England and onto a ferry bound for France. At the time I envisaged being a little closer to South Africa than here in Monrovia. Anyone reading this website over the past 6 months will know other unforeseen events have slowed my progress.

I don’t think my wrist has been mentioned in recent posts. It’s five months now. There remains a slight stiffness and swelling around the scar, and I don’t have the same amount of flexibility as I do in my right wrist. I possibly never will, but all things considered, things could have been a lot worse. I’ve wisely stopped walking alone in African cities at night.

I almost forgot to mention the sailing. More ex-pat surrealism. One hour’s drive south from Monrovia lies the town of Marshall. There is little to denote that it is a town – thatched huts and a few concrete buildings line the 15km dirt track that ends at a palm-fringed lagoon. The ocean surf is audible, but out of sight from the pink villa that sits by the calm water’s edge. A Lebanese family relax on the wooden veranda enjoying the view. In front of the villa a small catamaran lies moored alongside a laser dinghy, whilst out on the lagoon dug-out canoes glide by, transporting local villagers to some invisible village. It is a tranquil scene, the sound of the distant surf broken only by that of an engine. Out on the lagoon a young Lebanese man is speeding across the water on a jet-ski. ‘It’s a lot of fun’ remarks one of the Germans I’ve joined for the afternoon. So is sailing I say, something else I haven’t done for a long time.