Guinea (Not so foul)

Trip Start Nov 10, 2013
Trip End Jan 11, 2014

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Flag of Guinea  ,
Tuesday, December 17, 2013

As I was in cook group I was up at 6am to help make the porridge. We had a sleepy morning before stopping in a chaotic local town. We were surrounded by horses and carts and motorbikes. 

The border crossing into Guinea only took us about 45 mins, we didn't even have to get off of the truck so I'm liking Guinea already. The landscape become more green and tropical looking and the locals seemed even friendlier. Almost every person we passed gave us big grins and waves. Old ladies would be dancing and waving with both hands with huge toothy grins. Children screamed 'Borto' at us and ran waving after the truck. There were open mouthed looks of amazement followed by frantic waving as they realised it was a truck full of white
people. Many shouted "welcome, welcome" I felt like I was royalty on some sort of carnival float, you couldn't help but wave and smile back. 

We stopped in a bush camp near a small stream, some of the girls went down for a wash. We were a bit unsure about the water but a local drank some to show us it was safe. I didn't want to get my poorly thumb wet so Em kindly washed my hair for me. That evening I decided it was time to test my Sansbug which is a mosquito net tent. So after a dinner of spaghetti bolognese I settled down to my first night under the stars. 

After breakfast we had a short drive to our first town. We wandered through the market trying to find somewhere to change money. Our first purchase was some fried bread/doughnut type thing which has turned into our favourite Guinean snack especially as they only cost about 10p.  It has become one of our the main staples of our diet! 

Some of the girls found the bank to change money and had the friendliest experience so far. The bank manager asked the girls what exchange rate they wanted and gave it to them. Then asked if they wanted to come to his house to get showers and also invited them for lunch. They explained we were just passing through and asked him where they could buy sim cards. He then gave them some money as he wanted to buy the sim cards for them. He told them someone would come to the truck to deliver them. We were all back at the truck so had
to leave without the sims but about 5 mins outside the town a car behind the truck started flashing and honking at us. We stopped the truck and it turns out it was the bank manager himself with some sim cards. What an amazing guy! 

This town was also the end of tarmac! The roads became red dust and pot holes to say the least. We climbed up into the hills surrounded by lush greenery. We were fascinated by the local cars coming past us with at least 3 or 4 bags high stacked on the roof and usually a couple of men sat on the top. How these cars made it in these roads I have no idea? We stopped for lunch near some men working on the roads and filled up there water bottles for them.   The roads were so bad we managed about 16km in an hour and a half. After another police check we arrived at a local village on a river which had a winch ferry, we managed to jump the queue and crossed straight away. We had to get off the truck and wade through the muddy river onto the ferry. The locals seemed fascinated by us and after playing with the kids we drove off to our next bush camp in a grassy area. 

The following morning a lot of us woke up and we're covered in bites! I had about 30 on my legs and it looked like I had the measles. After a few days we worked out that it was probably sand flies. Deet doesn’t seem to help!

The morning drive took us past a fast flowing river. We spotted a waterfall and at that moment Steve came onto the speaker system and announced it was shower time! We took our wash bags down to the falls and washed. I have to say seeing us all washing in the river was a great sight until I came round a corner and was faced with a fully naked Steve bent over so I got a full view of his back, sack and crack! Putting that horror behind me we carried on to the next town where we were let off the truck to find snacks. 

It turns out Guinea has the best French sticks ever. We ate them warm while feeding the goats our banana skins. For the coffee drinkers we found that coffee is served with condensed milk and a free French stick with mayonnaise sandwich. The kids were surrounding and asking for photos so we played with them before wandering back to the truck. Many followed and stood and sang for us. We repayed the favour by doing the Hokey Kokey with them which they were enjoying until we did the end bit where you all held hands and rush into the circle. Many of the kids ran away screaming, some even falling over, it was hilarious. We tried it again a bit more successfully a second time. 

After a truck lunch we hit Labe which is one of the bigger towns and we caused chaos. The streets were narrow and crammed with market traders, the truck just about squeezed through as everyone stopped to wave and welcome us, it was just like Titchfield carnival in the old days. I went off with Becci and Jess to try to find some batteries, we also managed to find snickers and mars bars so we could have bananas with chocolate for pudding that night. On the way out of town we were followed by a wedding party which was cars and tons of motorbikes and horns honking. 

Steve found a camp in a burnt out area amongst some rocks near a village. It was a nice spot even if it did make us filthy. Through dinner a couple of villagers joined us. We asked them why everyone was shouting 'Borto' at us and it turns out it means 'white person'. We ended the evening singing a few Christmas carols and hymns. 

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derrick241 on

What an incredible Bank Manager, you dont get service like that back home (I dont even think Banks have managers any more)

A nice entry, lots of information, not so happy about these sand flies though

mushbird25 on

Thanks Dereck for all your comments, it's nice to know my blog is actually being read! Home now which is sad! Still a few updates to do!

derrick241 on

Ah, that is a shame, I wasa enjoying following you on this trip

I look forward to your new travels in the future

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