First thing this morning we were millionaires. In Guinea Francs that is. After saying goodbye to French couple, Jean Luc and Annie, I paid for our overnight accommodation and dinner. 320,000 Guinea Francs.
We then left for Mamou and shortly after found a gas station. Without much thought, we just presumed we had plenty of money. My purse was bulging. However, when Dennis told me the amount needed after filling the tank, I realised we may not have enough cash. We needed 696,000 GF and when I counted the wad of filthy, tatty notes, we only had 670,000. With all these different currencies and rates of exchange, one needs to be a mathematical genius.
The young lady pump attendant was pretty astute. I offered her 5 Euros for the missing 26,000 GF. She was quite happy with this and obviously knew what it was worth, about 45,000 GF and gave me back some GF change.
The ride took us through the mountains again. Unfortunately photos of the view looking down over the jungle covered hills were not possible. It is so hazy. Partly because of the infernal red dust from the roads, which are unsurfaced in many places and also from smoke.
The forests have been completely denuded of any harvestable wood. This is either used for fence posts or building scaffolding or is burned to make charcoal. There are piles of cut posts and bags of charcoal stacked up for sale all along the road. There are blackened and smouldering patches everywhere. The charcoal must be used for cooking.
Once again the road is terrible. It is worse where the tarmac is severely potholed. Where it has worn away completely and is compacted red earth, it is easier to drive on. It is slow going. We left at 10.00 and after stopping for about 45 minutes for lunch it was late afternoon by the time we reached Mamou. A distance of 148 kms.
En route for Mamou we passed through Dalaba. Lonely Planet describes it as a “delightful hill town”. In colonial times the French would decamp from sweaty Conakry to the “cool, clear climes”. Lonely Planet goes on to say Dalaba is the most pleasant town in Guinea. This doesn’t say much for everywhere else.
I have to say my impressions of Dalaba were far from delightful. We had a ‘wobbly’ with the Sat-Nav here. We reached a junction where the tar sealed main road went to our left or right. No signs for Mamou and the Sat-Nav said to go straight across. We did this and we’re soon on an abysmal track.
I was sure it wasn’t the right road to Mamou and wanted to either turn around and go back or to stop and recheck with another mapping App. Dennis doesn’t do either of those things and was convinced the Sat-Nav would keep us on the right track.
Eventually finding Google Maps, it was obvious we would rejoin the main road, the N5, in a few hundred meters. The Sat-Nav was obviously programmed for the fastest or shortest route, hence the so called short cut. Back on the N5 equilibrium was restored.
Arriving in Mamou
Adam was staying at Hotel Balys. On iOverlander it didn’t get a very good write up. Hotel Africa looked better and cheaper, so once arriving in Mamou, we decided we would have a look. A room was 200,000 GF. It had A/C, a large fan and running water. All fine so we decided we would stay there.
We went to meet Adam at Hotel Balys. Zikit was looking pristine compared to a very dusty and dirty Poki. Adam had had Zikit cleaned while waiting for us. We discussed our route plans for the next few days to the Ivory Coast border. We will meet tomorrow in Faranah at Hotel The Niger. We will drive separately as Adam prefers to set off early. Around 06.00.
Returning to Hotel Africa, we did more washing and for the first time in what seems like an eternity, I had a warm shower and washed my hair in warm water. We had dinner in Poki. I had intended to make an omelette. When trying to break the eggs I discovered they were already hard boiled! Nothing is easy! Fortunately we had a few veggies to enable an immediate menu change to a salad. With nothing else unexpected turning up, we retired to bed. Exhausted, Dennis fell immediately asleep, while I wrote the day’s blog.