Saturday, May 19, 2007

Where the river turns black - Border Niani, Guinea part (I)

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Mandiana to Niani, Guinea

During the night I feel tense. The devastating effect of the heat radiating from the uncovered Aluminum roof that covers my shabby Hotel room is having its effect. It leaves me drenched in sweat, a torture; unwanted Sauna in the tropics.

I know my car is parked in the unsecured, open yard of the compound that has one watchman who I can't trust. I have my emergency cash stuffed in a pillow I use to support my back from the steady bumps along the horrible road that crosses Guinea from the south to the north, a thousand kilometers full.

Every now and then I toss myself, restless, from one side to the other, trying to find the best sleeping position, in vain. At 3 AM I glance at my watch, lighting my Communicator which serves as a torch, and word processor. I hear a disturbing noise, I am certain from the car, outside the room, parked at a distance of 6-7 meters away. My mind is fully alert, I notice the strange sounds, like someone attempting to open the locks. At the moment you are paralyzed, thinking of the dangers that accompany any attempt in a lawless place such as this, to challenge an intruder

I struggle to my feet, Nokia in hand, still powered, slowly tapping to the door, unlocking it, and I open it in a sudden move. I glance at my car, nothing unusual. The noise has stopped at this moment.

Puzzled, I move towards the vehicle in the dark, the whole town lies in darkness, no source of electricity powers any part of this mining place.

Suddenly the noise again starts, coming from my left. The LED light of my communicator is not strong and I see a movement, about  meters apart from where I stand. A torchlight is lit and its beam cuts towards me. I hear the voice of a man and a woman speaking in French. When I finally realize I begin to relax.

A man and a woman standing in front of their 'Hotel room', attempting to kick start the motorbike they use. Here in the middle of Mandiana, a couple had rented a room to find some privacy. He apologizes for the noise and soon they continue before I return back to my room, relieved and exhausted.

This particular scene is always in my memory, it shows that even here, in the last corner of civilization, people are basically the same. I try to catch some sleep, the ambient temperature has dropped now with the morning dew settling on the roof, I am finally dozing off.

.............Mandiana Customs Officials, the arrangement episode.  .

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