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I like the spirit of this great London which I feel around me. Who but a coward would pass his whole life in hamlets; and for ever abandon his faculties to the eating rust of obscurity? - Charlotte Brontë

31 December 2019, Pamelap to Maneah, 85.1km
Hotel Ben Ben 250,000GNF (R375)


It was a long ride to Coyah / Maneah, particularly because the N4 was often pretty rough. Mainly narrow with ragged edges, often badly potholed or completely worn away to dirt and thick dust. At one point, progress along a dirt, potholed section was so slow, and the road so narrow, we had to travel in single-file convoy with trucks and mini-buses, the trucks slowing everyone, including us, to a snail’s pace. Where the road widened, we were able to speed up and overtake the trucks struggling to get their unwieldy selves through deep holes, some with hard jagged edges. At Coyah, we turned left onto the main highway, the N1, toward Conakry. A double-carriage road with a wide shoulder, all smooth tar with not a pothole in sight. What a difference. At virtually the first hotel we encountered here, we called it quits, despite their high price tag, glad to find they had a restaurant serving excellent French fries with either tender chicken or tasty fish. Our main concern was whether the hotel nightclub would keep us awake, but luckily our room was well sound-proofed so we were in bed and asleep long before 2020.
Despite the road and distance, it was a good day, marred by two incidents: Charl’s fall and a corrupt policeman. Charl seems to think he has to meet a monthly fall-quota and had to get in his December tumble before year-end. There were several policemen on the road at one point. Charl, his eye on them instead of the potholes, slipped and fell. He was moving slowly and did very little damage, but really, at 70 he should be taking more care! Anyway, he picked himself up and dusted himself off and a little way up the road we stopped in a shady copse for a smoke-break and to rinse his scrapes. Just as we were leaving, a policeman pulled up on a motorbike, demanding to see first our passports and then our yellow health cards. He studied each document with great care, but found nothing at fault. Then he began to play his games… Someone on iOverlander, the map app for those travelling Africa … er … overland, had posted a warning about a corrupt police roadblock nearby. Several others had confirmed that police in the vicinity were on the cadge. So when “our” policeman asked for our bike permits (not required documents for bicycles anywhere in Africa), we knew he was one of “them”. We told him we had no permits. Then he wanted to know if we had been taking photos, asking if we had a permit. Then he wanted to know why we were not wearing safety gear, specifically gloves and glasses. He made a phone call to someone, repeating what he had asked and found and not been supplied with. He was clearly trying to frighten us into offering money, but was too much of a wuss to ask outright for cash. Does this qualify as a bribe demand? Maybe… When we made a joke and said thanks and goodbye, he said “No thank you, no goodbye” and indicated he was in charge of the entire area, implying his colleagues would get us. When we passed later through the corrupt checkpoint, no-one took any notice of us … almost a letdown.
We breakfasted at a popular place on rice and a peanut sauce. Not much to our taste, but filling and providing energy for the long ride. We saw women washing clothes in rivers, and vehicles piled impossibly high with goods, and heard a tyre blow out on a mini-bus carrying both goods and passengers on the roof. We had to stop to allow a mother duck with a bit of a limp to waddle her three or four duckling across the road, and for cattle being herded across the road. The cattle were marked with a pattern of cuts, unusual and reminding us of the cut-marks made by some tribes to decorate their bodies. We have been seeing bare breasted women more often than since leaving Angola, at home in their bodies.

For today's route see below photos
For overview route, click on ROUTE tab above…


Pamelap to Maneah
Pamelap to Maneah
Pamelap to Maneah
Pamelap to Maneah
Pamelap to Maneah
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Pamelap to Maneah
Pamelap to Maneah
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Pamelap to Maneah
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Pamelap to Maneah
Pamelap to Maneah
Pamelap to Maneah
Pamelap to Maneah
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Pamelap to Maneah
Pamelap to Maneah
Pamelap to Maneah
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Pamelap to Maneah
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Pamelap to Maneah
Pamelap to Maneah
Pamelap to Maneah
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