Sunday, 14 January 2007

Sao Domingos to Varela

Our car pulled into the gare routiere at Sao Domingos and as we were getting out we were greeted by someone who said he saw us the day before.

It was the PIG owner!!!

I couldn't stop laughing, I asked him where his pigs were now and how much he wanted out of us ... he did see the funny side and helped us find transport to Varela as we were now set on heading to the coast and staying at 'Chez Helene'. We now had several confirmations that the bridge between Suzane and Varela was now fixed and we wouldn't have to walk the last 12km.

He found a minibus; we paid 1,500CFA for our tickets and realised we were numbers 3&4. Not a great sign when you realise that the minibus will seat about 18 comfortably which multiplies to about 30 in Africa; we knew we were in for a long wait! We also heard that a minibus had just left ...

We spent 4hrs in the sun from 11am waiting for the minibus to fill up, eventually we set off on tarred road; which lasted about 3km and then it was a fairly rough track. Our Portuguese was non-existant but we met a Gambian on the bus who spoke some English so had a chat with him in between being thrown around in the back. Two hours into the journey the front tyre blew ... Gianni went to investigate and help out; the rest of us waited about 40mins on the side of the road we wondered whether they'd be room at Chez Helene and what kind of place it might be ...

Finally we crossed the bridge, complete with a large truck still in the river which was carrying several tons of rice which had been donated to Varela but never made it and cut the villagers off from the outside world for 10months. Another 12km and it was getting dark as the minibus pulled up outside 'Chez Helene'.

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