Tuesday, 4 November 2008

Guinea gini*??


“The country side smells of fresh curry leaves, the air is crisp & inviting and birds are busy chirping away”. This isn’t some unknown foreign land; it’s the ‘path’ leading from Bissau to Conakry. I say path because we veered off the road shortly after the first border patrol and headed straight into the bushes. Why some countries will not merge and become one is beyond me. Apologies to all the Guineans reading this but I’m only trying to speak the truth here.

Dear readers, another reason why we are doing this trip is so that we can have fun on your behalf and make your mistakes for you so that when you decide to take this trip you will not make the same mistakes we did. (And of course to celebrate)

Now I would suggest to you against my better judgement and against everything celebratory about this trip, if choose to go to Guinea Bissau and Guinea Conakry, please do it by air!!!

The countries in themselves were not bad but the journey to the country nko? Another matter. I saw the best looking statures in Conakry, right in the middle of the road and the sunset was lovely. Bissau reminded me a bit of Brazil with their Old Portuguese style buildings and the people looked like they were having fun just being there.

I just didn’t like that it took us 2days from The Gambia to get to Guinea Bissau, a journey that should have been 8hours. Also the fact that we spent another 24hrs on the road for a 12-15hours journey from Bissau to Conakry. (Literally sleeping on cold hard tar, on the road)

Now, my advice is pretty simple. If you must go on these 2 roads, prepare your self for the best or worst (depending on how you look at it) camping experience of your life, except of course without the fire. Arm yourself with a blanket, flash lights and a towel because you’ll paddle a ‘ferry’ and sleep on the road in the middle of nowhere with only the stars and your fellow passengers to watch over you.

However, there is much to celebrate and that is the unbreakable spirit of our co-travellers on the journey from Bissau to Conakry. These people were in high spirits throughout the 24-hour journey, chattering loudly, sharing their food, even offering their shoulders as support for the next person who needed to rest. It was absolutely amazing and the most surprising part for me was that many of the passengers travel this route constantly for trade purposes. As one passenger told me, there is money to be made and even if the governments of these two countries don’t provide a road, the travellers will find a bush-path.

*what?? in my local language


Renee said...

I love the adventurous spirit that you two have.

Anonymous said...

The governments of those two countries haven't provided a road *yet*. What could it take to convince them to build a road (or rail!)? What about the communities in between - what would be the pros and cons for them of such a plan? I'm very interested in urban and regional planning so the idea of a new Bissau-Conakry route (whether by automobiles or trains) intrigues me. :)