Sunday, 14 January 2007

Boffa to Kindia

We spent the whole day in taxi's. At Boffa we were greeted by a really friendly crowd who helped us find another taxi to Tamene for 7,000FG each. Getting to Tamene we passed no less than 3 police roadblocks, each wanting money. We did our 'we don't speak French act' which generally worked, at one point I had to get out Camara's phone numbers that he'd given me and they backed down immediately. Tamene to Km36 (the edge of Conakry) the road blocks got tougher, for another 7,000FG we were in a minivan with 10 others and 5 children, half of which didn't have their identity cards and were forced to pay up!
At Km36, the police were dreadful. Asked us for our passports, then our Yellow Fever certificates then our 'ordre de mission' and I threw up my hands in horror and walked away telling them to keep our passports. They were angry & called me back, I pulled out Camara's number again and explained in a mix of French & English (as I didn't want to speak French to them as it would be tougher) that I wanted a receipt for the money I had to part with which I would then show to my 'friend Camara'. One guy visibly started sweating and said he needed money to eat ... the other one was all for giving our passports back and letting us go ... after asking for a phone so I could call Camara, they finally let us go.

I had a massive argument at Km36 with a van driver who was incredibly aggressive towards us - the argument got so bad I had an audience. He wasn't happy when I asked him if he spoke to his sister like that, the final insult finished it when I accused him of being Senegalese and not Guinean because his attitude wasn't Guinean-like at all! The women around me all cheered and were very supportive! The Guineans in general are incredible quiet, hospitable and friendly - but not this one!

We finally made it to Kindia, a town that had some interest as it was the beginning of the Fouta Djallon highlands. The centre of pineapple growing it had a large market which was incredibly busy. For 10,000FG each we found Hotel La Phare de Guinee on the main road, cheap & cheerful, the manager was a lovely man who'd travelled a lot and we had a long discussion with him about travel in West Africa.

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