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999 Days Around Africa: The Road Chose Me
I make my way far into the North East corner of Guinea-Bissau, aiming for a very small border crossing, near Kandika. I’m getting good at dealing with the corrupt Police around here, though I’m not prepared for the officer who confronts me in the middle of the town of Gabu. After spotting me he scrambles about to put on his uniform and cap, then runs over and starts yelling at me, demanding my paperwork. The yelling and demanding continues for at least ten minutes, something I have not yet experienced. I really have no idea what his problem is, I suppose he thinks he can intimidate me – he is a very large man after all. As usual keeping my cool and playing dumb and polite wins through, and eventually the shade and a comfortable chair are a better use of his time than berating me.
In the morning I discover a barge has recently washed away, and after a small decor I find my way to the other border crossing in the area. The patchy pavement ends here, and I actually use low range 1st gear in the half mile of no mans land between the two ropes and logs strung across the road. For the first time on the whole trip, I am asked for a Carnet de Passage – an international customs document for the Jeep I don’t have.
After some back and forward it’s decided I can sort it all out in the nearby regional capital of Koundara, so after a quick stop in immigration for a passport stamp on my visa, I continue with no paperwork for the Jeep – something that feels a little strange. Soon after I’m stopped by Police who are much more interested in my driving in flip flops than my lack of paperwork. Quickly throwing on my shoes brings about a round of smiles, and I am allowed to continue on my way.
In Koundara I find customs, and after waiting for the big boss to arrive he has no problem writing out a temporary import permit for the Jeep, and bribes me the equivalent of $3USD for it. I protest a little, but he’s a very nice man and I really can’t be bothered arguing too much for that little money. Maybe I’m getting soft
Moving away it’s immediately evident where the Chinese are building new highways. New blacktop as good as any in the world stretches into the distance, complete with painted lines and guard rails. Then, as quickly as it starts the new road abruptly ends in rough, rocky gravel, with the occasional mud put thrown in for good measure.
I’m excited to see mountains springing up all around, and am ready to explore African country number 6!
P.S. All the details to drive your own Overland vehicle into Guinea, including gas prices, border procedures, paperwork, insurance, camping and more can be found at http://wikioverland.org/Guinea
P.P.S. Sorry for the lack up updates. WiFi has been virtually non-existent since leaving Senegal. I have thousands of photos and hours of HD video to upload, I will keep working on it!