In a world without rules except that of nature we must expect anything. The morning we leave the area of Beyla we face the next stretch of bad road, and see the same old scenery of rain forest, by now a regular sight. |
Long, unbelievable potholes slow us down and make our journey a hell, once again. My heart always jumps at the sight of a pothole which is as large as a swimming pool, though not as deep, which turns out to be our Savior.
We make it slowly through the forests, the roads in unbelievable condition, slightly better than in Roman times. Sometimes driving at 10 mph, I think how long it will take me to reach Kankan, today's final destination. No time to stop for a rest, just to get out of this jungle is my only thought, for I am slowly but steadily getting tired of this menacing place.
I cannot see the beauty of the forest, the sometimes appearing rice paddies. It is getting stale to my eyes, I am possessed by one thought, to get out finally and find my truck and passengers. I reach the French Cotton plantation with the ginnery in the afternoon and I know that I am not far from my destination.
Another checkpoint at the entrance of Kankan, this time much more subtle than in the southern part of the country. Tired and completely slugged out I pay and pass through till I enter the city of Kankan, the largest in the north of Guinea.
At the time the Renault truck left its home, one agreement was struck. When nothing is heard for 3 weeks - meet us in Kankan. Neither knew anything about the city, the sheer size would indicate that some facilities are available.
A decent Hotel, shower, AC, this is what I long for after days of driving through uninhabitable territory. Sometimes you feel like an explorer, for many hours not a soul on the road. What a view to see people, moving in cars, going after their business, shops, vendors, the whole lot.
Joy comes up and the thought of a hot bath does the rest. When I roll into the town, I am overcome by some deja vu. No one can explain this. And I know that in this remote city I will come across something that I expect to find here.
The exhaust system has suffered greatly on the road, and during the last 100 km a bolder has ripped of the muffler. The sound of the car is like a stock car in the great price of Indiana. I find the first mechanic welder and he does the job in minutes. When I ask for directions to the next hotel, I am guided through the city's only main road.
Hotel Bate is not far away, I am told. The main square comes close, and I slow down instinctively, as always to be watchful not to hit anyone crossing the dusty main street, a self protecting measure. For the unlucky one that hits a jaywalker could be lynched if he is unlucky. My luck has brought me through all the perils and dangers one can face.
I search the streets carefully, the roads to see a familiar face. Nothing has crossed my eyes so far. When we reach the main communication center with the telecoms office and huge transmission tower, I suddenly hear my name being shouted from across the street, the familiar voice is all too known.
I have found my employee who comes to me and hugs me like a long lost brother, and I can understand the emotion. Finally we are reunited, after nearly 4 weeks of uncertainty, anxious moments have come to an end.
We are in Kankan, Guinea, after all, the city where we have planned to meet.... Next : The relaxation, and retrieval of the vehicle..... ..
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Beyla, Kankan, Guinea, Africa,