Blogs from Guinea-Bissau, Africa


Africa » Guinea-Bissau » Bissagos Islands » Bubaque March 31st 2017

My colleagues jaw had not un-clenched for about an hour, the tendons were standing out like cordage. It it was hardly surprising. The return journey had been long and the greenish coloured sea had been heavy. The incidental background music for the trip was the Gee-Jaw sound of the engine; the swells causing the propeller to go in and out of the water. We were also running out of petrol. A garishly painted fishing canoe, so typical all along the West African coast, was waved down. A wad of CFA's exchanged for a white plastic jerry can of petrol and we were on our way back to Bissau's port. The entrance was again guarded by huge, rather decrepit Chinese fishing trawlers. New pilings were being sunk at the pier, a sign that after years of stagnation, ... read more

Africa » Guinea-Bissau » Bissagos Islands » Bolama October 5th 2015

Update Bolama Islands Ebola Corps 20.02.014 The Bolama Trios picked up their action of Ebola community awareness and since 3 weeks we’re up to full speed. In a fragile wooden boot which barely could face and withstand a stronger wave without getting wrecked we sailed 3 hours through the Atlantic waters to reach our first destination Bolama City. Such are the boats which too will carry us to the other islands. With our awareness action we have almost covered Bolama city and the rest of the city’s island. Throughout we found the Bolamer population to be of great support to our cause. Everywhere we came we met expressed gratefulness and blessings towards our mission. People appeared in great numbers to listen to what we had to say and from the population we could obse... read more
Stuck on Tideland
Our canoe
Ilha de Maio

Africa » Guinea-Bissau » East » Gabú May 6th 2011

People say “Oh how many kilometres is it to so’n’so?” or answer back when I ask the question, “How long will it take?” “Oh about 245 kilometres.” … That is not what I asked. I travel by hours not kilometres. Travelling by kilometres is useless in Africa. There are so many variables that give you a fluctuating timeframe. What vehicle is being used? How many stops it will make, if there is a spare seat halfway through the trip, are they going to stop and try and pick up another passenger? Does the driver have errands to run? How many trucks will we be caught behind? Also how good does the vehicle climb up hills? The state of the tyres and most importantly the road. Has the road been upgraded since colonialism? In the case of ... read more
2- the best part of the road so we stopped to cool off the engine
3 - dinner
4 - sunrise the next day somewhere in Guinea. A stopover for trucks too

Africa » Guinea-Bissau April 14th 2011

I was sitting next to possibly the best cleavage I have ever sat next to from Senegal to Guinea-Bissau. 3.5 hours and I couldn’t get a look in. I was cooped up in the back seat with her but it was not what you are thinking. It’s the back row in the trunk of a station wagon and I am too tall for the elevated seating. I try my darndest to get a look through the corner of my eye. But I am forced to lean forward to my knees because the roof is too short. Gosh travelling Africa can make the world seem a cruel, cruel world. I started to think of my continuous travelling of this scrunched up nature and thought. ‘You know locals don’t travel this hard on a bi-daily basis’ People and ... read more
1 - Former Presidential Palace
2 - Taxis of Bissau
3 - Graffiti in Bissau old town

Africa » Guinea-Bissau » North » Bissau November 7th 2007

I’d lost my Rastafarian wristband, one night at Gatwick Airport and it had gone! My son, Sam had tied it in place the previous day, I’d told him that it would stay on until I returned and he could untie it for me. I looked at my wristwatch on my left arm, at least that was still there and it told me I had ten minutes before boarding began. The watch was a present from my father, some thirty-four years earlier and had been all around the world with me. It had survived my electrocution, during a monsoon downpour in Lucknow, which had seen me hurled into the sewer fed, flooded streets, the watch had taken about five weeks to dry out properly but it never stopped working. I had been “given” the Rasta bracelet in ... read more
Cassamance River
Piggy Bus

Africa » Guinea-Bissau » North » Bissau September 13th 2007

Oioioioioi, hvor skal jeg begynne denne gangen. Jeg faar bare hive meg uti det og haape paa det beste. Turen fra Bubaque tilbake til Bissau var alt annet enn kjedelig. Klokka kvart paa seks soendag morgen sto vi i bekmoerket paa kaia i Bubaque, uten noen slags form for lys, og ropte desperat paa Emma, vaar nye svenske venninne. En hyggelig mann med lommelykt var snill og hjalp oss i feil retning, men til slutt fant vi riktig kai, og der var det flere mennesker og ventet, blant andre Emma. Baaten gikk saa klart ikke foer klokka sju, og da skulle det vaere plass til sikkert hundre mennesker paa baaten. Og hver passasjer hadde med seg masse pikkpakk. I tillegg var det med sikkert seksti hoener, femten gryntende griser, noen haner, og en stolt kalkun (som ... read more

Africa » Guinea-Bissau September 8th 2007

Hei alle sammen, naa har the norwegian traveling circus kommet seg ut paa Bubaque, en idyllisk og tropisk liten oey bare noen timers baattur utenfor hovedstaden Bissau i landet vi naa er i, Guinea-Bissau. Allerede paa grensa skjoente vi at dette var et land vi ville komme til aa stortrives i. Vi ble hilst velkommen av en skokk grensevakter, og her snakker vi skikkelige sleggedamer i uniform som ikke har stort annet aa ta seg til enn aa gjoere narr av de som kommer inn i landet. Og lo gjorde de, saa hele grensestasjonen rista naermest, og vi maatte bare le med, der vi stod og venta paa passene vaare. Grensestasjonene her nede er veldig morsomme, det er smaa skur med et lite kontor, der det sitter en vakt og stempler pass og passer hoener og ... read more

Africa » Guinea-Bissau » North » Bissau July 9th 2007

On the map, Senegal and Gambia look like the profile of an open mouth where the former are the jaws while the latter represents the tongue. Made exception for the short coastal strip, the Gambia is totally wrapped in Senegal, hence whichever direction one wants to leave the country -south in my case- he have to necessarily enter into the territory of its francophone neighbour. I have understood by now that in this part of the world even the most insignificant trip can take a whole day and that therefore one must show up at la gare routiere (bus station) at the most indecent morning hours so to avoid the chance to be left stranded at dusk in some god forgotten border shack. The reason why travelling before dawn is perfectly fine while do it after ... read more
Best Barber in Town, Ziguinchour
African River Crossing
Hard Life, Cap Skirring

Africa » Guinea-Bissau August 11th 2006

We have just returned after spending a week on the decently remote Bijagos, the archipelago islands off the coast of Guinea Bissau. We were told by one of our hotels that we were the first Americans they'd seen since 1998. Much traditional village culture still exists there, as it has for hundreds of years...except with a few additions like plastic buckets and oversized American T-shirts under the grass skirts. But they live well there, with a tight community, strong tradition, village elders and chiefs, and lots of good spontaneous singing and drumming. We arrived by pirogue, which is kind of like somewhere between a canoe and viking ship, at least in my interpretation. We got to the dock in Bissau early, as we had been instructed, and the boat was loading when we arrived. We were ... read more
The Port
Chez Titi
Prime mattress seat on the top of the boat

Africa » Guinea-Bissau August 11th 2006

Well I haven't written for a long time mostly because Alana who is travelling with me has been writing so I didn't feel the need to but there is one island I went to that she didn't so I will describe it. It was Roxa in Portuguese but Canhaba in Bijago. I went with an English banjo researcher we met at Bubaque, the most developed of all the islands. Bubaque seems to have seen more prosperous days. Laundry dries on old sagging power lines, and the only electricity is by generator. There are a lot of ghostly old ruins of hotels. The scariest was on the other side of the island where we cycled to. It was during a sort of storm, so the shutters were banging, and it was all decrepit. I could imagine ... read more
The ruins of  a hotel
Motoring along

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