Didn't get as early a start as I wanted, but by seven I was at the gare voiture. I quickly found a bush taxi that was a little under half full bound for Kankan. Since I was going to Kankan today no matter what I broke from my usual practice and bought a ticket instead of waiting for the car to fill first. About half an hour later no one else had joined the car so I knew I was in for a long wait. Then an American man and woman showed up and I started talking to them. They were both PCVs (of course) the guy was heading West, but the woman and two other PCVs had hired an entire car to go to Kankan. I was asked if I wanted to join them and decided to, despite loosing the 6,000 GF I already paid for the taxi. This way I got to leave immediately, it would be far more comfortable, and I'd get the company (and expertise) of the volunteers.
The Peace Corps volunteers were Megan and Collin (stationed in Kouroussa - math and English teachers, respectively), and John, stationed somewhere up near Siguiri - health services). The trip was fairly unexciting except for a couple mud pits that looked like they might delay us, and the ferry across the Niger River. This was my first look at the great river, and even up here so near it's source it is wide and stately, already looking big. The ferry crossing took about an hour of waiting and ten minutes of crossing. The wait is mainly because out each load of cars and trucks about half get stuck in the mud trying to get on or off. Our load included a semi truck and though he didn't get stuck he did weigh down the ferry so much that we were stuck fast in the mud. The solution was a pretty amazing demonstration of inertia. They backed the truck up as far as they could on the deck, them ran it full speed and slammed on the brakes 15 feet later. Each time this was repeated the ferry was jerked a little further off the bank and in three or four times we were free.
We got to Kankan a little before noon. I took a shower at the Peace Corps house there and then walked into town with John and Collin. I found a room at the hotel and agreed to meet them and many other volunteers at the house for dinner later. I spent part of the afternoon exploring downtown Kankan, there's not much here considering it's Guinea's second largest city. It's a pleasant city with relatively wide streets thickly planted with huge mango trees that combine to give the shady streets a stately, relaxed feel. I explored the covered market (mostly used and imported clothing), and the Grand Marché, mostly foods. I did get to try a couple new street foods, basically variations on the corn bread common everywhere, but still tasty. I found the air service office, but it was closed so I'll have to wait until Monday. Everyone I've talked to has told me that there isn't a fixed schedule for the plane so I'll just have to see. There also seems to be some possibility of getting a transit visa for Mali here in Kankan - a story I've heard from several people, although no one seems to know the details. Something else to research.
Diner was amazing. There were ten volunteers and myself. The food was mostly Indian and very spicy. Maybe best of all were the oatmeal chocolate chip cookies! The dinner was supposed to be in celebration of two peoples birthdays (one of which was Megan's), but I really think it was just an excuse to get everyone from around the region together for a party. After dinner we walked up to one of the neighboring compounds that belonged to a Scottish man who works for one of the diamond mining companies here. The house was very nice and I could have been sitting in a nice Ocean front house in Southern California (even had CNN on the TV). After a beer there Collin, Megan, Allie, myself and two other PCVs went into town to go dancing. I wasn't to impressed with the disco, it was small and had one of those DJs that never stop talking. That plus how tired I was and I probably should have skipped it. We didn't stay to long, but then went to the hotel bar (at my hotel) and had a late night beer and just talked for a while.