. OnHiatus.com > Journal 1 > Day Index > Journal Entry: October 19, 1998

Monday, October 19, 1998
Kankan to Siguiri, Guinea
Guinea's Flag

Map
Siguiri, Guinea:
Latitude: 11° 24' 26" North
Longitude: 9° 10' 50" West
Altitude: 1108 feet
From Seattle: 7323 miles
Lodging: Friend / Family - Dwaine and Orlando (PCVs)

Map
Today's Travel:
Country: Guinea
Region: Malinké Plains
Route: Bush Taxi: Kankan - Siguiri
Path:Kankan - Siguiri, Guinea
Linear:81 miles
Weather: Mostly Sunny / Rain / Overcast

Available Photos:

Ferry, African style: 2 pirogues and my taxi Niger River crossing, Kankan to Siguiri highway, Guinea

Ferry, African style: 2 pirogues and my taxi Niger River crossing, Kankan to Siguiri highway, Guinea

All photo images © 1997-2000 Anthony Jones - Images may not be used without prior written approval.

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Map
Trip Stats to Date:
Day: 557
Linear Dist: 127127
Countries Visited: 38
Regions Visited: 159
More stats...
Hotels: 161
Friends / Family: 155
Camping: 43
Hostels: 141
Transit: 50
Other Lodging: 6
Beers: 1996
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Journal Entry:
I'd set my alarm for 7:30, and I don't know if I turned it off without waking up or if I'd never turned it on, but after tossing and turning all night I finally fell asleep and didn't wake up until nearly nine. I went out with two goals: find the Guinea Air Service office and see about flying to Bamako; and find out about this rumored Malian transit visa that might be available in Kankan. The office wasn't that hard to find, but they no longer fly direct Kankan to Bamako (they'll be resuming service next week, or the week after) so I'd have to fly to Conakry then Bamako, and they couldn't give me information on schedules or cost of the Conakry - Bamako leg, so it looks like I'm taking the bush taxi.

After leaving the office I ran into John (one of the PCVs I shared the car from Kouroussa with). We had breakfast together then he asked around about the Malian visa situation (unlike me he speaks passable French). We checked the air office and asked around the University, but no one had heard of such a thing. So it looks like I'm going to risk the border without a visa...

Since it was only eleven and I didn't have anything else to do in Kankan I decided to head for Siguiri. That would cut about five hours off my trip tomorrow and give me a chance to see somewhere else. I packed an checked out of the hotel, then made the trek out to the Peace Corps house to trade a book (I haven't had reading material for almost a week and it's necessary for the waiting involved with public transport here - I got The Hunt for Red October).

At the gare voiture I only had to wait an hour for the bush taxi to fill up, but then we drive around the town for an hour before leaving. We all got in the car, the driver raced as fast as possible, with people and animals diving out of the way, around downtown Kankan then went back to the gare, got out got in a yelling match with someone, and then repeated that two more times. I never did figure out what was going on, except that I was very uncomfortable and we hadn't even left yet! The ride was pretty uneventful until we got to the first river crossing. Here we crossed the Niger River in real African fashion - The car was driven on to two pirogues (canoes) lashed together and then poled across while we (the passengers) were paddled across in another pirogue. The regular car ferry was running, but I guess our driver didn't want to wait for it - besides the pirogues seemed quite a bit faster than the car ferry. It was a pretty amazing thing to see and somehow with dusk coming on, lightning on the horizon and huge Blue Herons (or something like them) surrounding us it was the right way to cross the Niger. About an hour after the river crossing the car broke down and we had to push it 20 minutes to the next ferry. This time we waited for the regular car ferry (I think because it was after dark) and got the car fixed while we were waiting. Then there was one last police checkpoint where there was some argument over how much the driver should pay - it took an hour, but I think the driver finally gave in.

John had given me directions to Dwaine's house (Dwaine was one of the PCVs that went dancing on Saturday), but I couldn't make any sense of them. I found a couple kids who knew where the "Professeur du Mat" lived and they took me on a forty minute grueling death march down the pitch black streets. Many stumbles and close calls with open sewers later I was there. No electricity or flushing toilet, but they had running water and a spare bed (straw pallet) and mosquito net.


Related Sites:
US State Department Consular Information Sheets: Guinea
CIA World Fact Book: Guinea

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