Early start road very dusty, twisty with big drop offs. Landy turned red as did most of our kit and us! 71 miles took about 5 hours but ended up in nice hotel in town called Labe – delicious local pizza thing and coldest beers for ages – can’t believe how much we are drinking and how good cold drinks can be. Took off tent outer cover as just complicates things – big mistake massive tropical downpour early evening – cover back on but too late – damp night for all.
In the country we are definitely a source of curiosity to say least!
Met a crazy Dutch couple in a camper van half-way up the mountain,so stopped for a chat,they had got this far without four wheel drive,and were seriously struggling,it was so funny as we were all bright orange from the dust ,discussing our various journey’s….it would seem The Blue beast has gone from laughing stock to fastest thing on the track theres nothing better on dodgy roads(according to Michael anyway!)
We have basically stopped commenting on overloaded vehicles which paradoxically is almost everyone -imagine a Peugeot 504 estate with a massive roofload/pile with a large bullock strapped to either side, and one horizontal on the top,not to mention various chickens,goats and oh yes some passengers,full complement internally, with a few keeping the bullock company!
We also saw a guy, on top of a pile on top of a vehicle with his hands over his eyes,as he swayed two metres from side to side,whilst the front end dug a groove in the track because of lack of suspension ….terrifying
Some of the petrol tanker driver’s could win the world rally championship !
Labe to Conakry
We left Brett & Mary heading for Conakry , strangely we all commented on how nice itwas being only low 30c we must have passed some heat threshold in the previous few days as it was only a few weeks ago we were melting at that temperature.– lovely countryside changing all the time good roads to start – not thought to be any – but got very potholed – big sized – half way there. Loads of fruit and veg for sale – I got pushed into buying 6 pineapples, dozen avocados, bananas and 6 corn on cob complete with new basket for about 6 quid not sure how we will eat it all.
Quite a long way to Conakry – which does not come with a good description – very tatty – making good time until about 4pm and about 40ks from town when it ground to a halt – street market all the way crazy stuff – dual carriageway half closed – closed half seemed to be used for everything from football matches to bands playing to large crowds. Progress none existent got pulled by police half way there caused great chaos as landys turning circle meant much tooting etc. finally got to town about 8pm eventually found only lace in guide book which is a hotel/ catholic mission. We slept inside compound in our tents. Picked up a local tour guide the night before – very nice but would rather he went away went of to embassy only to find it closed – holiday – Easter Monday it seems which is a bit odd in a muslim country. So sat here waiting to see if they have a room for tonight – very busy seems to be occupied by lecturers for catholic university while accommodation is being built. Chatted to a few who were very friendly and interested in what we were doing. Hoping also the wee fee man will turn up.
Forgot to add theres virtually no electricity outside towns here and as the lady in the Labe hotel said if the have power they dont have phones/ internet or vice versa. Hence relative silence. Also connections are very poor/ slow so posting a single photo takes for ever.
I think the locals are finding the fact that not only are we white,but non french speaking something of extreme interest,but they all have an English football team they support! Michael keeps telling them Drogba is a “Big girls blouse “ which of course takes some explaining!!
So far life is good on the road,albeit a bit stressful at times and I’ve never been quite so filthy,even when I was a child, the dust is thick , does not seem to wash out and there is a fine layer of it over everything,including the sheets. C’est le vie !!
Spent the night in a basic room then up early for the embassy, a guy we had met – refugee trainee doctor from Central African republic wants help as it seems does everyone – had washed the landy.
Got there and promptly told to go back to internet cafe to transfer money for visa, returned then fun started lady filling in forms not too hot – seven hours and two pages of same basic info as on form/ passport already later we got finished. Some French company has sold them a “biometric visa system” which does not work with power let alone in a country where power is intermittent. It refused point blank to accept Emma had any fingers despite creams and pressing of hands etc by various staff members and did not appear to have UK listed until I remembered the old “rouame uni” heard on European song contest – perverse French programmer I think.
Had to wait 48hours so left for small island having left the car in the Novotel car park for security,the little fishing port was pretty grim, but once past plastic bags, islands looked great and landing confirmed our impressions.
Laid back even for Guinea, small bar hotel,but no one else here apart from a few French air hostess girls, who stay here on stopover, as its only an hour from town max. lovely supper 2 x 3 -4lb bass plus spicy bits and frites 30000 guinea francs – £3 can’t be bad
spent the next day on our own beach with chicken riz (rice) – Guineas traditional staple – chicken was a bit tricky to catch but gave several guys some exercise served with spicy onions/ tomato sauce and pepper chilli version very nice indeed. Tres jollie!
Going back to Conakry tomorrow to collect visas and also to tackle the mysteries of Guinea internet again on the way and see if we can get some photo’s posted somewhere.
Hopefully then it’s off to Cote d’ Ivoire,then Burkina Faso, but will keep you posted, not much hope of internet for at least another week or so. Hope to get a visa for Ghana in Burkina, if so , slow journey through here,but internet could be better by then,so will continue blog then.
Keep the comments coming,when we do finally get to see them, it gives us a good laugh !!