Saturday, December 23, 2006

From the Jungle to the Desert

The ride up to Mali was once again very beautiful with a few interesting things along the way to remind us "This is Africa'' First was the border of Sierra Leone and Guinea. To get there involved going on one of the worst roads yet wich reduced to a mear walking path at times, cars would never get through, many water crossings as it wound through the jungle, although the road was hard work it was amzing to ride trhough the north of Sierra Leone. But once at the border our first problem, got our passports stamped out and I asked about our Carnets for the bikes to be stamped which has to be done and the reply was that its back, two towns back!! Nothing could be done but to take all the panniers off and I would shot back quickly and get the stamp and signature and be back in an hour or so, no problems....but then there was a Sierra Leonian soilder wanting a lift, hell I lost the luggage but gained a 70 kg soildier who also wanted to carry a chicken with us, I explained loose the chicken mate we are not going to be going slow, off we went leaving Amy to amuse the immigration officers for awhile. It was more than the 21 miles the told me, it was 42, droped my soildeir off and got the stamps then to ride back to the border, was a load of
fun on an empty bike flying through the jungles of such a place until I hit a small bridge to fast and slinging me accross into the path of some massive pot holes, managing to stay aboard I dont know how but the bike did not fare to well, smashing my centre stand, with nothing I could do so it rattled the remaining 10 miles, fix it later.
Finally three and a half hours on I rejoined Amy, fixed the centre stand and into back Mali we road. Road north and camped a couple of nights in the bush and on our last day we rounded a corner and there dragging trees onto the road where three soilders forming a road bloke and one clutching an AK 47, hell whats this, with big smiles and hand shakes from us and our best french hellos they turned out to be ok and made a gap and let us through, but for a moment my heart was in my mouth, you just never know what to expect out here.

Highway number 1, Seirra Leone.

Then into Mali with the green jungles far behind us it is hot and dry again, closer to the Sahara. So for Xmas we epect to be on our way to Timbuctoo camped somewhere in the bush, I guess no roast turkey for us, tuna and pasta I suppose.
My Soldier passanger, Seirra Leone

Camp, Guniea.
Village girl, Guniea.

Niger River, Mali.

The road to Bamako, Mali.