20,000 leagues under the sky, 2004- travel blog

No-mans-land

What do you expect for €3


I almost lost the Hong Koreans at the border between G-B and Guinea. When the bush taxi from Gabu to the border emptied all of the locals went straight through while we foreigners had to go through the formalities. When we were done everyone else had already left and the taxi waiting in no-mans-land was empty. We waited for a while but there looked like no chance of it filling up, I suggested that we walk over the border and there might be taxis waiting at the other side. We had no idea how far it was but it took less than half an hour down the dirt road surrounded by "Danger - Mines" signs, as there were mine disposal teams there I took the signs seriously.

At the Guinea side we found the Immigrtion post where a very bored offical enjoyed chatting with us and filled in all of his paperwork. I had a look at his book and we were the first foreigners through that border for 4 days withonly 3 others going through in the previous week. I asked him about transport to the next town and he pointed back to G-B and said it waits at the other side, oh well, we sat outside his office hoping tat the taxi we'd seen over there would turn up. After about half an hour a taxi arrived going the wrong way, from Guinea to Guinea-Bissau full of passengers. The driver approached us and asked whether we wanted the taxi to take us to Sareboidi and quoted 50000GF. I tried to argue the price down but he wouldn't budge and Sun was having kittens over the price and said he wouldn't take it wanting to walk back over the border. I decided that I was going to go and told the driver that I would take his taxi and the other two could do what they liked. I then had a big arguement with Sun about his constant penny pinching and told him that if he wanted to spend the night at the border to feel free. The driver wanted the 50000 there and then which I obviously refused as he still had to take his load to G-B, he then wanted me to give it to the border policeman and again I refused as far as I knew they could have been brothers. Eventually he was happy to see that I had enough money and went off.

When he returned the car was full all but for 3 places, I told the driver that I had agreed 50k for the whole taxi and rehaggled, eventually getting him down to 10k each whereupon The Honkories joined me still oaning about the cost (about a pound each). I've no idea why but when we changed in Sareboido they never complained about the cost which was the same for the same distance.

Koundara is quite possibly the most basic town I've ever visited, no electricity, no roads and two very basic hotels with no running water. Unbelievably (or maybe not) at 2 pound a night for a room they still decided to share a double bed and this time Kerry was quite keen to take his own room but a pound spent is a pound wasted to Sun. Finding anything to eat in Koundara was a problem, there were no real restaurants to speak of and evenstret food was hard to find. I ended up having another arguement with Sun when he kept saying "it's very expensive" (his standard phrase) about anything we found. We eventually ended up with rice and a very dodgy stew which I'm sure they managed to negotiate a higher price than she originally quoted them. Throughout our travelling together I've been the translator for French and I refused to get involved this time standing back an enjoying their show. Rather than getting a mix of juice, meat and vegetables they ended up with all meat which wasn't very apppetising. There wasn't a thing to see or do in Koundara so we left as early as possible the next morning.



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