Our Book
Videos Routes Eat Sleep Daily blog
A good traveler leaves no tracks. Good speech lacks fault-finding. - Lao Tzu

10 January 2020, Gillage to Buba, 72.6km
Apart Hotel Françon 10,000XOF (R244)


It was a dithering sort of day…
We wanted to get ourselves officially stamped into Guinea-Bissau, and our Gillage host confirmed we could do so in Candembel, the village at which we had intended to enter the country. Candembel lay some distance ahead of us along the road we were travelling toward Quebo, our intended destination for the night. As we reached the small hamlet, we stopped to ask a shopkeeper for “immigration”, and he pointed toward a few men sitting in idle conversation under a tree across the road. One of the men gestured for us to wait in the shade, hopped onto the back of an autocycle, and was driven away to return a short time later with his stamps and ink pads. We managed to explain that we had entered the country yesterday, having taken a wrong turn on the Conakry side of the border. This seemed to amuse him a little, and he stamped us in without further ado.
The dirt road we travelled to the tar T-junction, was tiring, but OK. At the junction, we could turn right to Quebo or left to Buba. We would need in the end to travel via Buba to Enxude to get the ferry to Bissau*, but opted for Quebo today thinking the town big enough to have an ATM from which we could draw much-needed cash, and a decent guest house in which we could get some much-needed rest. We were wrong on both counts, finding this out at a soft drink halt about halfway to Quebo, just a couple of kms, thank goodness, and turning there to begin the longer ride to Buba.
*That there was a ferry between Enxude and Bissau was confirmed by the police at the junction.
We had a real problem; we were very short of cash. We had managed last night to exchange the last of our Guinean Francs for Central African Francs at a shop in Gillage and had been able, therefore, to pay for our bed and dinner and some drinks. We had barely enough cash left today to purchase, once back at the junction, boiled egg and mayonnaise baguettes and more drinks. But we had been assured there were both banks and beds to be had in Buba, so we hit the road after lunch in the heat, optimistic.
Shortly thereafter Charl got a flat and we ran into real trouble. We changed the tube, the new one going immediately flat too. We tried patching the tubes, but the glue would not hold. Africans use glue not patching solution to make repairs to punctured tubes. Our solution ran out long ago, and we have been muddling along on glue OK-ish. Except that it does not dry in a hurry and is pretty useless for quick roadside repairs, therefore. We were 15 or 20kms from Buba, and we were uncertain what was best to do. I thought Charl should perhaps hitch a ride, and I would meet him in town. We were wheeling our bikes along the road in search of shade, when Charl was haled by two men sitting under a tree at a neat homestead. They too could not repair Charl’s tubes, so instead stripped one from their own bicycle and installed it on Charl’s. Incredibly kind. We paid them all the cash we had left and headed on out onto potholed tar.
By the time we arrived in Buba, we were hot, tired and incredibly thirsty. Our hotel would not let us check in without cash, the first bank we tried would not dispense cash to a Mastercard, the supermarket would not advance us cash in exchange for holding our passports until the bank opened in the morning, there was no-one to exchange US Dollars for the local currency… Luckily, Charl had R1,000 on his Visa card, which we never use, and the second bank near the rotunda gave us cash, making a bed and dinner and liquids possible.
Shortly after we turned our backs on Quebo, I came across a boy on the road, aged about ten. He took one look at me, and called out “branco” (white in Portuguese), his grin infectious, his eyes and face lighting up like a Christmas tree. And I wondered if he would ever have a similar positive response based purely on the colour of his skin. A young woman once told Charl and I that in the Czech Republic, people run up to blacks to touch their skin for luck. So perhaps he will, though it seems sadly unlikely.

For today's route see below photos
For overview route, click on ROUTE tab above…


Gillage
Gillage
Gillage
Gillage
Gillage
Gillage
Gillage
Gillage
Gillage to Buba
Gillage to Buba
Gillage to Buba
Gillage to Buba
Previous Page
First Page
Next Page