Into Guinea-Bissau

Wednesday 26 Feb Sukuta Campsite, Banjul, The Gambia
I breakfast with one of the yoghurts that I bought yesterday. Nothing special, except that I paid (noticed long after I had left the shop) almost 6 euros per yoghurt! French import bio. I have a nice walk with Thimba to Serekunda, a village some 3 km, away. Look for – and find – a wormclamp to fit the tube of my compressor. Also looked for a coiffeur  but couldn’t find one.
I keep adjusting my itinerary. That’s good and flexible, the way it should be. Adapt to the circumstances, see what the new day brings you, and act from there. It’s gradually becoming a way of living.

Thursday 27 Feb, leaving Banjul
It’s an easy drive to Ziguinchor, passing the Gambian-Senegalese border. No hassle at the border. I stay at the Auberge Casafrique, in a room (second time on my trip). Thimba again very much likes the tiled floor. There’s no electricity, no towels, but a great garden to relax. Thimba immediately occupies a bed and relaxes for the rest of the afternoon. In the meantime I go visa-hunting: the Guinea-Bissau consulate is only a 5 minutes walk away. I meet the consul at the door, and I leave after 10 minutes with a Bissau visa in my passport! Why can’t they all be like that. I compliment the consul for having the fastest visa process of all African countries. He smiles.
There’s a coiffeur just around the corner. I show him my passport photo to give him some idea of how I want my hair to be cut. Pas de problème! We have a nice talk about traveling, Senegal, world politics, football (always) and Celine Dion, which he plays very loudly over the speakers. I resemble a Zen Budhist monk when he’s finished, but I’m satisfied with his work. although he charges me extra because he had to cut “a lot of hair”.

the result after 10 minutes Céline Dion

the result after 10 minutes Céline Dion


When I return to  my room, Thimba has left an undefinable stain on “her” bed. Oh well, shit happens.








Friday 28 Feb, into Guineau-Bissau
It’s only 130 km. from Ziguinchor in Senegal to Bissau, the capital of Guinea-Bissau. But it takes me 6 hours because of bad, potholed, roads, and the many, many checkpoints. They now have ropes across the road which they won’t lower until they are completely satisfied. And they become more and more creative and seem to be on drugs, judging from their red eyes. There must have been at least 15 checkpoints on the 70 km road in Guinea-Bissau, and they all want one thing: money. Further north it was perhaps a slight hint for a petit cadeau but they sort of skip the initial formalities here, don’t even check my documents any more, but approach the car and immediately shout: “Money, Money!”. I give them a smile, talk about football (thank god I’m from Holland, and know a few names like VanPersie), try to keep up my smile, slap them amicably on the shoulder, and leave without paying a bribe. And I must admit: it feels good every time it works!
One checkpoint gets really nasty, however. The “red-eyed team”: you never know how they will react when they’re on drugs!. It’s five of them, and it’s as if they’re ticking the boxes: what can we find wrong? Have I got a fire extinguisher (I show them), Do my lights work (they do), what’s in that box? (my toothbrush, shampoo, etc). “I want your shampoo”, says one. I point at my crew cut and explain that I need that myself (not very convincing, but it works). A triangle. Ouch, that’s in the alu box on top of the roof rack, but I’m more than happy to climb on it, open the box and show it to them. “You need two triangles!”, another one says. I put my triangle back in the alu box, pull it out again, and say: “And here’s the second one!”. I get a thumbs up. They are really impressed; everything is there and works. We say goodbye in a cheerful way, and I’m glad to be past this one!
I have a good address in Bissau to stay (thanks Stesi!), a German restaurant cum camping. Safe, clean, good wifi, friendly people. I can’t camp, however, because the owner has a couple of mean dogs running around the place. So I go for Thimba’s safety and my own comfort and take a room with a veranda and my own garden where Thimba can run around. Airco, tv, What luxury after two months! I’m going to stay for a few days!

Thimba in her garden with pigs in the background

Thimba in her garden with pigs in the background

Roughing a bit in Bissau!

Roughing it (a bit) in Bissau


6 thoughts on “Into Guinea-Bissau

  1. peer

    Hoi Gee, wat een avonturen onderweg! En wij maar denken dat we hier zoveel last hebben van ambtenaren.
    We zitten een paar weken voor de gemeenteraadsverkiezingen en dus heb ik als campagneleider weer een drukke agenda! Mieke heeft een succesvolle trainingsdag gegeven en haar eerste reactie was: de reis naar Afrika is binnen!! We spreken/schrijven elkaar nog, veel veilige kilometers, Peer

    1. Gee Post author

      Hoi Peer,

      Dank je!
      En heel veel succes met de a.s. verkiezingen. Hier in Bissau zijn nu ook verkiezingen, dus zie je overal trucks met gewapende militairen. In Veghel gaat het er wat gemoedelijker aan toe!

      Heel veel liefs vanuit Bissau

  2. Geert van den Berg

    Hallo Gee,

    Knap zoals je om gaat met de politie en allerlei ander tuig dat geld wil. Ik herken dat natuurlijk van Marokko, maar ik krijg de indruk dat het agressiever wordt als je verder West Afrika in gaat. Ik hoop dat je de check points zonder al te veel kleerscheuren kunt blijven passeren. Groeten, Geert

    1. Gee Post author

      Hi Geert,
      Het is zoals ik me had voorgesteld, en dan nog veel erger! En dat contrasteert enorm met de andere mensen: bijzonder aardig! wat een verschil.



  3. Marco

    Hi Gee,
    Even een berichtje om je te laten weten dat ik je regelmatig volg en enorm geniet van alle verhalen en beelden, waarvan een aantal zeer bekend voorkomt omdat ik er zelf gereisd heb… Prachtige foto’s en je manier van schrijven is echt enorm leuk! Je zult aan het eind van deze onderneming een heel( fascinerend ) boekwerk gemaakt hebben.
    Hoop voor je dat Thimba je kan blijven vergezellen, zoniet, dat ze op een goede manier thuis kan komen. Wens je veel geluk en wijsheid tijdens je verdere trip en kan niet wachten op meer… Warme groet, Marco


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