The phone number in the previous posting was wrong. It’s now been corrected. We are about three hours from Conakry. A bit cooler here, but on a warming trend. High of 90. Humid. Thunderstorms seem to be gone. Power out all day yesterday from the storm. We called Aicha from here thinking she still lived her, but now lives in Conakry, but took a bush taxi the next day and arrived yesterday. Gifted us. I got material to make a shirt and pants outfit which was made today and we picked it up this afternoon. Now I’ll be styling. And now I have a second pair of pants to wear. We met a French expat here who married a local three years ago. The five of us went to a nice waterfalls for a picnic today. Very leisurely. We were expecting to have to walk in, but wasn’t far. Aicha was the young lady we met last year who was helping the French running group. Was instrumental in recovering my GPS.

::The day after the above.

The internet cafe we were at two days ago wasn’t great. Slow, computer crash and power failure. Found another one that’s faster and new equipment and US keyboard (placement of keys, one can usually change the keyboard from French).

Today we had lunch with the French expat and his wife. Invited over at 11 am when the food preparation was barely underway which was fine since we’d had a late breakfast. And we got to observe local food preparation methods. His wife, Nafi, and a helper prepared the meal. Potato leaves, onions crushed in a “mortar and pestle,” chicken, smoked fish, beef, okra, tomatos, and spices. All cutting is done without a cutting board. The two of them cut up the chicken. Served over rice and it was delicious. The two hour wait allowed us time to digest our breakfast. A nice couple. She definitely has a say so in the relationship–looked like any of our relationships (yes, the woman is the boss).

Turned interesting when the lawyer for his former Guinean wife showed up. Rather heated for half and hour and then they seemed to settle down to business. We didn’t know what was going on at first, but found out later from Aicha. We took our leave and headed to the market.

¬†Aicha helped Louisa procure a new dress. Bought the fabric, hired the tailor and all was finished in three hours. Even a chapeau from left over material. Now we’re both styling.

As far as we can tell we’re the only tourists of any nationality in town. We didn’t think we saw any in Conakry either. We’ve met several Europeans, but they’re all working or volunteering for NGOs. Other visitors at the hotel are military or businessmen–both local and westerners. At the hotel last night was a couple who took a short break from their volunteering in The Gambia–a small country north of here. He’s a British doctor who’s now the equivalent of a resident and working for nine months as the main doctor in a small town. His wife is a teacher who has helped set up a library and worked with local teachers to set up lesson plans.

The most interesting guy was a French Canadian who said he owned a security company here and in other countries in Africa and South America. He was up from Conakry with the French owner of the hotel. The owner has been married to a Guinean for twenty years with a daughter studing in Toulouse and an eight year old here. He’s now in diamonds! The Canadian said his preparation for the security business was that he was in of some kind Canadian special forces. Didn’t seem the type. Travels around Africa alone. Usually European businessman travel with drivers, but he feels he knows how to get by.

One final tidbit. The fourth mobile phone service is going in here. Obviously money to be made and free enterprise is at work. Communications is very important, but would be nice if somehow development could be directed at other businesses. You usually can’t phone people on a service other than your own (you never can text message to another service). Oh well.

We’re heading to Dalaba tomorrow. Up in the mountains, so the temperature will be nice. We plan to do some hiking and biking. Aicha is heading back to Conakry tomorrow also.

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