None of us slept particularly well last night. Our campsite in Bo was a hotel compound. Some of us pitched on the tennis court where there was more space. My roomie and I opted for the covered roof terrace, which was cramped, but meant we didn’t need the tent fly and would get some air. I had also been quick to figure out who on the truck was a snorer and made sure we were far away from the nasal orchestra. The only downside of our dry pitch was the proximity of the worlds largest generator which ran most of the night, and an Ibiza sized speaker which was reverberating bad pop through my tent. After much pleading to the DJ, he did turn that speaker off around 10, so it was just deafening noise from the other speakers rather than ear bursting pain! It must be some type of African ritual, as the neighbours across the road we’re trying to outcompete with their bad music also. I question the commercial logic of the approach as there were only 4 customers in the bar, so am pretty sure they weren’t even covering the costs of the electricity. We could have slept inside, if we had ‘upgraded’ to a room, but the threadbare sheets, multitudes of cockroaches, and signs advising us to keep out the rats, made the $30 upgrade fee seem a little unappealing.
Bo didn’t have much to offer, and our matter of fact, and highly amusing, driver was upfront in confessing there was nothing to see but it was en route to Tiwai. The highlight of the town was an immaculate Lebanese run supermarket (side note – there are 4000 Lebs here, and they run 70% of the countries grocery stores). As well as wonderful snickers icecreams and ginger nuts, they had the some delightful cock flavoured soup and garlic hair cream. No one is happier than a group of dirty tired hungry western overlanders in an air conditioned supermarket with icecream.
We rolled into Tiwai in Amineh the truck to a loud chorus of “Pumoy, Pumoy” which means ‘whiteperson’ in the Mende dialect. Foreigners are few and far between on these parts, with the exception of a few aid workers who make their way up here over the dirt roads to see the primates on Tiwai island. And apart from Amineh, there has likely only been 1-2 overland trucks pass through each year. While we are all accustomed to the kids yelling and waving, we are pleasantly surprised to get a wave and a smile from almost everyone we pass. We must look like the travelling circus. It’s been a long day to get here. 90km from Bo, but the 60km on the dirt roads has taken us 5 hours.
We were instant celebrities! The truck was surrounded by waving young kids and when I hopped off the truck I was swarmed by kids. One clinging to each leg and one on each hand. They took us around our campsite which was lovely and quiet. One toilet box and a shower cubicle with a bucket of water and a few hammocks. No running water, electricity or phone signal. Perfect!
Bo, November 16, 2016