Late Saturday afternoon I catch a taxi from Cape Point in the Gambia to the airport, about a half-hour trip. We’re driving on a four-lane highway with a grassy divider down the middle. The driver tells me he wants to stop for gas, crosses an opening in the divider, and is about to drive the wrong way down the highway for 150 meters when the car stops and won’t start. I see a mass of cars coming from the other direction, but I figure this is probably standard fare: sure enough, they veer into the unblocked lane without so much as a honk.
The driver and I hop out and push the car down the highway to the gas station, fill up (or put in enough fumes to get a little further), and the car still won’t start. The driver opens the hood and starts sucking gasoline out of some tube and spitting it out. Try again, still won’t start. More sucking, more spitting. The car sputters to life and we make our way to the airport. Glad I had plenty of time.