Sunday, 14 January 2007


Our first night on Bubaque was peaceful, we walked down the port area and met up with Carlos again; we then started to realise that being Chief of Police on Bubaque was a cushy number, he spent most of his time in a bar! However, he was very friendly and bought us all a drink!
Bubaque is very quiet ... very relaxed and we all got into the swing of things; being completely lazy!
We spent a half a day on the beach nearest to the village, a 10minute walk away, passing ruined old colonial houses, abandoned old hotels and the school.

Once on the beach we were only disturbed by a few guys harvesting the palm nuts. The beach itself wasn't particulary long but had gorgeous soft sand, and a few old boats on the shore.

One that had us all laughing, complete with loo on board, must have been used by European visitors prior to the war! The views were spectacular, the people friendly and you couldn't want for more!

Gianni & I walked back to the auberge at lunchtime, and found Titi of 'Chez Titi' putting the finishing touches to a new house he bought & renovated ready for a Christmas opening.

There were a few upmarket hotels, not very large, all with speedboats again catering for fishermen; predominantly owned by French expats.

I wandered out late afternoon into the village and heard an incredibly London like accent and met Eduardo. His family was originally from Bubaque and had heard that there were 3 Italians staying at Chez Raoul; having seen the three of us he was sure we weren't all Italian. He tried in English with me and then in French, I was a bit puzzled and spoke to him in French initially. It turns out he was back on Bubaque writing a book about the immigration of West Africans to Europe. He was also desperate to re-vitalise Bubaque's tourism economy!
Multi-lingual Eduardo turned out to be a hero for us. Steve had organised a boat ride to the island of Orango with the same captain that had got us to Bubaque. We'd all met a French-Senegalese couple, Philippe & Marie-Louise and so Gianni & I joined them to find a boat back to Bissau on 23rd December. Eduardo knew of a boat going from Kasa Afrikana, an up-market hotel in the village. The boat was going over to Bissau to pick up the French owner and we were told that we could hitch a lift on it for 4,000CFA each to cover the fuel, there were two Italians getting the boat with us as well. The following morning, four of us walked the kilometer to the jetty of the hotel and were met with a very angry owner's wife who was Senegalese, who wasn't letting the four of us go unless we paid her 25,000CFA EACH, which was daylight robbery! With Gianni talking to the Italians in Italian which she didn't understand we found out that they had managed to pay her 4,000CFA and were already on board, the boat was ready to go. Kasa Afrikana will be one place I won't be staying at for a return trip! Sadly we watched the boat leave and walked back up to Chez Raoul to a very suprised Steve who'd not yet left for Orango!We spent the day waiting for another boat Eduardo had organised for us, we sat in the cafe near the port watching our 'new' boat have some repairs before we could set off. The suprising thing in Guinea Bissau was the amount of pigs, they were everywhere; including on the top of vans and eating scraps on the beach ... the Bubaque pigs seemed well fed ...
By lunchtime the boat crew still weren't ready so we went back to Chez Raoul to eat and headed back down at the agreed time of 3pm. By 4.30pm we were getting a bit fed up and thinking about the cost of the boat and an enforced night in Bissau due to the time (something I didn't want to contemplate!)By 5pm Philippe and I wandered off to find our boat captain. He was in a bar, completely drunk and as soon as he saw us he said he'd be there in 10minutes and the price had risen to 10,000CFA a head from the original 4,000CFA. I told him that it really wasn't worth it now, he was drunk and it was going to cost us more to get his boat and a dodgy hotel in Bissau than to stay on Bubaque and pay 2,000CFA the following day to get across to Bissau on the twice weekly pirogue. He was furious with me, I walked off and told Eduardo what had been said and then a drunk Carlos got involved. Fed up with all of them, the four of us & Eduardo walked away. Our lovely Senegalese landlady at Chez Raoul was thrilled to see Gianni & I back for another night!We got up early the next morning to see the sun rise and to be sure of a place on the pirogue back to Bissau, we had forgotten it was almost Christmas and boarding a pirogue that was completely overloaded with supplies & people was a bit of a nightmare!But finally we were off and leaving Bubaque, a long, hot 5hr crossing to Bissau with Philippe & Gianni finding standing room only, not easy staying upright in the hull!Bubaque was a wonderful island; we really enjoyed it but as a female, it was the ONLY place in Africa that I have encountered problems. Once whilst with Eduardo, a drunk grabbed me and tried to kiss me and I was 'touched up' twice whilst I was with Gianni & Steve (which was suprising they had the nerve to do that with two European guys with me). However, I would go back, it was stunningly beautiful!!!


Anonymous said...

Presumably you weren't woken up by the drug-carrying aircraft landing at Bubaque.
The boat you traveled in was probably full of drugs.
Guinea Bissau is now a big center in the drug-smuggling trade - I hope you realized that!

Kira said...

We were more than aware; prior to this we'd heard low flying small aircraft over areas of the country heading for Cap Skirring late at night apparently carrying drugs.

The Caracol area of Bissau was also rife with crack cocaine .. hence it was violent & threatening at night; not somewhere I'd want to go again late at night ..

Made several comments on about this since the journalist was imprisoned! Nico the President is as corrupt as all his men .. there are 11 Hummvees in G.B. all belonging to the govt. all paid for with drug money (apparently!)

Anonymous said...

yehaa , rocks and beauty ! here we go ...