Day three

Melting. We are not used to the heat. We did finally make it to the US Embassy. It was moved a few months ago to the “suburbs.” We were looking to see if a women who worked for her uncle twenty years ago here was still working here. Her uncle, Gary, worked for USAID. As one would expect she no longer was still here.

Then we took a shared taxi to the bus station. We are leaving Conakry tomorrow. And all of you who been in third world bus stations know they are hectic. And most buses (although it looks like here it will be a shared taxi) leave relatively early in the morning. We both wanted to know where it was since we’ll probably bicycle here and also to get an idea of what we’re up against taking our bikes.

 The interesting part was that we entered by walking over a bridge, and Louisa decided to take some video. That almost immediately brought on the  (pseudo) military guy looking tot throw his weight around/collect a bribe. We tried to explain that we had a paper from the government that said it was OK to photograph. We had stopped at the tourism bureau to get the form and the guy there said it wasn’t necessary, but he zeroxed a letter saying it was OK. Our military friend couldn’t even read it, but didn’t care as it wasn’t getting him his bribe. Several people came to our aide. They are not intimidated. One guy negotiated the bribe from about $8 to about $5. It appeared as if the military guy was going to make a scene, so we gave the guy the
$4. One of our helpers pulled us aside to explain it all. He’s an accounting student. We decided to let him show us a place to eat and later where to find an internet cafe. Restaurants aren’t plentiful until evening and not always well marked, at least to the American eye. The menu was fish and rice, and a Fanta. Then to the Internet Cafe, which is somewhat airconditioned which is very nice.  i think we’re only eating about half of what we should be because of the heat and difficulty of finding a sit down restaurant.

 Yesterday we found the failings of the transportation system. We are staying about 5 km out of town, and we were ready to return about 6 pm. Crowds at every corner trying to catch shared taxis. We talked to one guy who said it was worse than usual. And we knew if a taxi showed up for our location, it would be full by the time we gained that information. We tried a few other corners and then got the idea to find a good hotel where they would certainly find us a taxi. A doorman flagged what appeared to be private car which was willing for about ten times the normal price, which considering that was about$8 and would save us at least two hours of standing around in the heat.

Last night we stopped by the apartment where the women who helped us from the airport is staying. She is shaying with a women from Dallas who is a coordinator for the Peace Corps. A very nice and large apartment. Guess one needs that if you’re working in a third world country. It would be hard to function if one was staying where we are now. No running water. No screens. Bed, but no tables. Electricity at night to run the fan.

We have seen markets for fresh fruit and occasionally bread. But little else. Obviously not a whole lot available, but there has to be more available somewhere. And the richer buy goods somewhere.

The people are friendly and helpful. I think their French is enough different from our poor French to cause us some difficulties. Some English spoken. Our student assistant and others speak good enough English to communicate.

PS. I was reminded of the setting for English keyboard which is helping.

One thought on “Day three”

  1. It sounds as though you’re getting a fast introduction to the ways of West Africa. I remember you have to take food as and where you find it, and some of it’s a bit weird to the Western palate. Dont’ they have motorbike taxis – ‘motos’ – in Conakry, where you just jump on the back and pretend it’s a sane way to get around? martin

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