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Thursday, October 15, 1998
Dalaba to Dabola, Guinea
Guinea's Flag

Dabola, Guinea:
Latitude: 10° 44' 38" North
Longitude: 11° 6' 29" West
Altitude: 4051 feet
From Seattle: 7258 miles
Lodging: Hotel - Hôtel Tinkisso

Today's Travel:
Country: Guinea
Regions: Fouta Djalon, Malinké Plains
Route: Bush Taxi: Dalaba - Mamou; Mamou - Dabola
Start: Dalaba
Stop 1. Mamou
End:Dabola, Guinea
Linear:99 miles
Weather: Partial Sun

Available Photos:

Sunset Dabola, Guinea

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

Click on map to Zoom in...
Trip Stats to Date:
Day: 553
Linear Dist: 126918
Countries Visited: 38
Regions Visited: 159
More stats...
Hotels: 158
Friends / Family: 154
Camping: 43
Hostels: 141
Transit: 50
Other Lodging: 6
Beers: 1988

Journal Entry:
Another ridiculously long travel day. The original plan was to spend the night in Dabola, about half way to Kankan. But on closer research the guide book mentioned that there was no lodging available, so the new plan was to go to Kouroussa. From Dabola Kouroussa should be about four hours on the road (paved all the way!). I figured I'd probably have to change bush taxis in Mamou so add an extra hour for the taxi to fill up. I caught an immediate bush taxi out of Dalaba at about nine so I expected to be in Kouroussa around two this afternoon. Somehow I forget W.A.W.A.

I got to Mamou shortly after ten. I quickly found a taxi going all the way to Kouroussa, all I had to do was wait for it to fill up. At about two the driver said there was a bus coming and it would be plenty of passengers, and if there wasn't we would still leave. The bus came the driver decided he was going to go somewhere else and settled his obligation to me by finding me a taxi to Dabola - basically I'd just waited five hours for a taxi I could have jumped on at anytime. I was pretty fuming by this time.

Got to Dabola a little before six, I considered giving up on getting to Kouroussa since I'd noticed a hotel on the outskirts of town, but decided to keep on going since it looked like a pretty nice hotel and it was already to late to see the surrounding are anyway. I found a taxi going to Kouroussa and the driver already had two passengers so we only needed two more. I went and had a great steak dinner (well little bits of beef cooked with onions and seasonings - but for less than $2) and came back to the taxi but the other two passengers were gone. When I asked where they had gone he said he didn't know and that it would cost me 35,000 Guinean Francs to take the taxi alone (the previously agreed price was 7,000), obviously I said goodnight. Now it was seven fifteen, but I found another taxi that only needed one more passenger after me. After about fifteen minutes I was told I had to buy the ticket now (usually in Guinea you pay when you get to, or right before, the destination). I said I'd pay when it was time to go. The driver told me it was time to go and we would leave as soon as I paid, so I paid - and waited. When I said I thought we were going the driver said yes we're going. Then he disappeared, and I waited. The driver came back at about eight and I said I thought we were leaving, and he said we'll leave at 8:30 if we have the other fare or not. I complained, basically I was stewing, it had been a very long day, and I was pissed off, tired, sun burned, and basically just sick of waiting for taxis - but I waited. At 8:30 I unloaded the baggage to get to my bag and demanded my money back, I was told that fares were non-refundable. I was livid and told the driver very quietly that he had lied to me twice and again asked for my money back. He got it for me.

I set off on the couple mile hike to the hotel figuring that I was probably going to end up sleeping under a bush somewhere (at least this time I had access to my mosquito net and sleeping bag). About thirty minutes out of town a nice four by four pulled up and offered me a ride. The hotel is pretty nice, but I talked the price down from 30,000 GF to 20,000 GF (~US$18) - still more than the ride and hotel in Kouroussa would have cost, but there was no way I was riding with that driver. I had a couple beers to calm down and then early to bed. My five hours of travel planned had taken twelve hours and only got me a little over half way. At least I should be able to get an early start tomorrow and make it all the way to Kankan - of course there's the W.A.W.A. factor still...

Looking over the last few weeks of entries my time in West Africa has sounded like hell - it hasn't been. West Africa is great. The people are mostly friendly, the sites are beautiful, and basically it's everything I'd hoped it to be. It's just that this is one of those places where Murphy rules supreme. You just can't be in a hurry here. Between all the unexpected delays and I'm still not sleep thanks to the Larium (Meflaquin - my malaria prophylaxis) I'm on edge a lot, and at the end of the day what I mostly remember is the frustrations. It's just that no matter how long you plan something will take it will take twice as long - taking that in to account ahead of time just means it will take four times as long - etceteras. The fun is all in maintaining the right attitude - which I've failed to do a number of times, like today. But overall I still love West Africa, and Guinea is the crown jewel so far...

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

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