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Guinea-Bissau

   After having recovered from malaria, we were ready to enter Guinea-Bissau, a country most people don’t even know it exists! This was the main reason we decided to make a detour to visit it. It is always a pleasure to interact with people who are not accustomed of seeing Westerners and are intact by tourism.

   In Africa there are three countries using the word “Guinea” in their name: Guinea (former French Guinea); Guinea-Bissau (former Portuguese Guinea); and Equatorial Guinea (former Spanish Guinea). New Guinea, which is more well-known, is an island in the Pacific Ocean, north of Australia.

   Guinea-Bissau was the last country of West Africa that gained independence from colonization, just in 1974. The last Europeans that ruled this small country were not the French, but the Portuguese. Unfortunately, these proved to be the cruelest colonials of all, so independence was earned after a lot of blood had been spilled.

   We soon arrived in the capital, Bissau, which looks more like a small, provincial town rather than the capital of a country. We were hosted there by Paulo, an English teacher working for a public school. His house was in the suburbs of the town, in a neighborhood squeezed inside a labyrinth of dirt roads. It consists of a single small room which he struggled to furnish with a bed, a couch and two armchairs. It was a large ground floor building divided in such small rooms with walls not reaching the roof. So, it was like sharing the same space with our neighbors. You could hear everything, especially the man next door beating his wife, the woman crying, screaming and swearing, the children yelling and crying too… Paulo went out to see if there was something he could do but, as he told us later, in these countries they are used to such fights.

Rice fields just behind Paulo’s house.

   Bissau was the first town we stayed where most of the houses don’t have electricity. Of course, almost everybody has a cell phone so, in order to charge it, there are specific stores for these purpose where you pay a small fee for charging! There is also no running water but every neighbourhood has its own well. These are the everyday living conditions not only in Guinea-Bissau but also in many of the countries we will be visiting.

Christina cooking on fire a royal meal of chicken with rice, to eat together with our hosts!

   Paulo is a Protestant Christian, so we went to attend the service with him. In a plain building without hagiographies, icons and luxury men, women and children started to gather until there was not a single empty sit left. The service began with religious songs. There was somebody playing electric guitar, another one playing harmonium, while eight young boys and girls were accompanying the main singer. The believers were clapping their hands and were moving their body to the rhythm. If we weren’t aware of being in a temple, we would probably think this was a concert! In the end the pastors of the church preached the word of God. At some point Paulo told us that the pastor asked us to stand up, so that everybody could see us! We were the only white people in the temple and they wanted to welcome us!

If we didn’t know that we were in a church, we would think that we were watching a concert!

   Moving east, we visited the scenic old town of Bafatá, with buildings and cobbled streets left behind by the Portuguese. Nowadays they are totally neglected and the town seems more like a ghost town, however bearing still testimony of its glory.

Over the deepest rivers there were small wooden bridges. While passing through the rest, we were soaked wet for good…

   We went all the way until Gabú but decided not to enter Guinea straight ahead. We preferred to ride an amazing off-road route through the savannah. We were passing through small settlements of round huts made of mud with roof of straws. Smiling peasants were greeting us all the time! In some parts there was only a small path to ride on. Many times we would find ourselves in front of streams or puddles. Crossing them made us soaked wet, as in some parts the water was more than one meter (3 ft) deep. Where the water was even deeper there were small wooden bridges which we had to cross very carefully. In some village a police officer stamped our passports and through tracks we crossed the border and before knowing it, we entered Guinea.

Crossing the border through the savannah paths…


 

Here you can watch the video about our adventures in Guinea-Bissau:

Soundtracks (music of Guinea-Bissau):
Super Mama Djombo – Dissan Na M’bera
Super Mama Djombo – Assalariado
Super Mama Djombo – Indicativo
Manecas Costa – Ermons Di Terra

 

Παρουσιάσεις

Κοζάνη
Σάββατο
30 Νοεμβρίου 2019, 20:00
Όμιλος Δικυκλιστών Κοζάνης
1ο χλμ Κοζάνης - Κρόκου

Kozani

 

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