Wednesday, April 20, 2011


There’s much to be said for research, real research not cursory glances at a travel guide which makes reference to pirogue trips across to the islands without confirming on which days those trips occur etc. Bollocks to it, I’m in Bissau, capital of Guinea-Bissau and I’ll be here for less than 24 hours before returning to Ziguinchor tomorrow afternoon - that hardly counts does it? I’ve spent longer in some international airports. My plan was to visit Bissau for a couple of nights, take a trip across the visit the beautiful islands off the coast here but there are no island connections until Tuesday next. Today’s Saturday and accommodation here costs a small fortune and so I’m cutting my losses and retreating back to Senegal and heading off to Mali instead. Most of Guinea-Bissau’s sights are out of reach unless you have your own transport, in fact much of the same is true for everywhere in West Africa and so I’ll remain at the mercy of the bush taxi mafia and their haphazard routes and timetables for the coming weeks.
I’m in town long enough to see the scars of the civil war on the buildings in the old city - peace seems to interrupt the fighting in this particular part of the world. There’s an uneasy peace here right now though for how long it will last in a country notorious for military coups, political assassinations and increasing threats from South American drug barons who’ve taken advantage of the country’s non-existent coastal security to make Guinea-Bissau the number one entry port for South America’s endless cocaine supplies, is anyone’s guess. The former presidential residence sits proudly at the top of Avenue Amilcar Cabral but its façade is peppered with bullet holes and the roof has been blown off. I spend a Saturday here and it’s the most remarkably empty city I’ve ever been to and I've been to Canberra. Go on - see if you can find some people in the photos above. Few people, fewer cars and absolutely no atmosphere whatsoever even down by the docks. Christ, I imagine Sundays are a riot here but I won‘t be hanging around long enough to find out.

No comments:

Post a Comment