Please excuse the order of blog entry. Days and wifi difficulties has meant we are out of step.
The Carnival went on till 4am. Not much sleep. Up at 7am to be at the Ivory Coast Embassy by 9am to pick up our visas. Packing up camp so we could make a quick get-a-way on return.
The majority of Overlanders were doing the same thing, though it was more like 10am before we arrived at the Ivory Coast Embassy by taxi.
After returning to the camp with our visas and setting off for Gabu, I made a cheeky left turn at a round-a-bout, observed by a Policeman who pulled me up. I’ve decided that the best way to deal with these guys, short of cutting and running, is overt friendship. Warm smiles, hand shakes and pat on the back, asking his name and showing him where we have been on the world map, on the side of Poki. Telling him we were from New Zealand, gosh!..:) More confusion. He wanted my licence so I asked Jen to get a copy. No, he wanted my real one. “No way” I said. “I give nobody my licence”. He couldn’t work that out, so then asked me what I had for him? I reached inside Poki and gave him a pen. He looked at it with scorn, again I shook his hand and told him he’s a nice guy, slapped him on the back and drove off.
Our destination tonight is 190k’s, to a town called Gabu. We are choosing to drive along the GB side of the border and cross into Guinea at a remote crossing.
After topping up with diesel we leave town.
Maybe next time we come through this way, the motorway they are building will be finished, but till then, it’s a nightmare of dust, huge potholes and crazy traffic. It didn’t improve till about k 80 where there was a barrier across part of the road and rocks completing the obstruction. It was a toll booth. I joked with a passer by that we did not feel like paying for the disaster the road has been. Somehow with sign language he seemed to understand and broke out in a broad grin saying, I think, “welcome to Guinea Bissau”. We paid CFA500 and for the next 30ks’ enjoyed the best bit of road for weeks. There were two other CFA500 notes in the till. About NZ$1.
Again back to potholes. The country is changing. More grasslands and piles of tied up bundles of firewood. Sacks upon sacks of charcoal. One can see why the trees have gone.
What a punishing drive for Poki. They seem to be made of the right stuff and still the most popular Overlanding vehicle. There were 6 in the camp last night with 2 Toyota’s and a VW 4×4 van.
Driving through a village a white Japanese 4×4 came flying through from the opposite direction just when a pig decided to cross the road. NOOOO! squealed Jen, shielding her eyes, It didn’t save the pig. It was DED, dead. I don’t think she would have appreciated me stopping and shoving the carcass in the back…:)
Driving into the village of Gabu. My god, what a disaster the road is. Very slow, 1st gear crawl with Poki rocking and pitching. Potholes, ridges, and every other impediment. Food stalls and people both sides of the road and tons of produce. Also, we are seeing Mosques again in the villages. Islam is in the countryside if not the city.
4pm and our accommodation tonight is again. Poki. We are at Hotel Visiom, but no power to drive fans or read after dark, nor water in the bathroom, so I see no sense in paying for a room that is uninhabitable. We have the seclusion of a gated courtyard, which will be fine. Adam has decided to push on to the border, approx 70k’s away.