February 12, 2004

Halfway There

Africa Blog
'Woah ooh oh, we're halfway there - woah ooh oh, living on a prayer'.
That's what Bon Jovi said in their seminal eighties hit, and that's what I'm saying too. I am halfway to Bamako, and not living on a prayer, but rather living on biscuits and bananas.
I am in Tambacounda, and I'm going to stay here tomorrow as well, for a rest, and to go to the bank. My stomach is troubling me again, and personally I blame the Gambian bus company for the torturous journey I went through yesterday. I think that particular journey is enough to give anyone the shits.
12 hours on that rusty tin can, and it was rammed. It only went at about 20mph the whole way, and the old hag sitting next to me - don't even get me started on that old hag. She sat there sprawled all over the seat, taking up WAY more than her share of the room, and was constantly edging me off the seat. Then she had the AUDACITY to complain that I was squashing her. I gave her a piece of my mind, let me tell you. Well, actually, I suppose I mimed a piece of my mind because she didn't speak English, but I mimed to her in no uncertain terms that it was her fault. She mimed back a denial of responsibilty. Other passengers thought it was funny. I sulked.
The bus was further delayed by army checkpoints where we all had to get off the bus and show our ID. At the halfway point, we stopped to fix the bus, and ram even more passengers into the last space in the aisle. It was carnage, and a small riot ensued.
When I finally arrived at about 10pm, the whole of Basse Santu Su had no power. The Gambia seems to be not very good at keeping the electricity going.
I wandered about in the pitch black with my torch, and was saved by a very kind man, who lead me to the hotel, and didn't even want any money for guiding me. I was extremely grateful indeed. The hotel, luckily had a generator, but unluckily they switched it off at 11pm, so that was when I went to bed.
As I drifted off to sleep, I imagined the old hag being made to ride the bus for an entire week solid, as a punishment for her poor behaviour.

Posted by paul at February 12, 2004 08:28 PM

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