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Guinea/ Sierra Leone

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NEWS ITEM: A white man who claimed to be from another planet was arrested in small fishing village on the outskirts of Freetown. Biking in Africa with most rare Requirement

I am now in Sierra Leone heading for the capital Freetown. In Guinea Conakry where I lived with the brother of the president who I met through other people who also thought cycling was cool. Actually, I should have met the President but he had to go with all other African presidents to Egypt. Everyone was very friendly which made me happy. Since my diaorrhea came to an end, they drove me to the hospital to get me checked through. The medics there gave me a lot of pills which didn't really help very much. I had a nice nurses who cared a lot for me but it didn't help much. But a little care is always a good thing.
I drove to Sierra Leone where I was received in a friendly manner at the border. So many former soldiers had wounds from the war.There were a many with amputated arms or legs as a result of the Civil War. Before many rebels took drugs which made them very brutal and now they are suffering. For security reasons I was requested to check in at each police station.

As usual the roads were very bad.

Because of my feeling so weak due to the diaorrhea I decided to take a boat to Freetown. The journey should take 5 hours with an outboard motor boat. Everyone was asking me whether I was a good swimmer because they stated that at least one boat sinks every year.
The weather was bad so I went to a fishing village where I could spend the night. What really happened, I can't say, but it defintely got very loud there. A fisherman family invited me to sleep there and everything looked good until a neighbour came who presented himself as an informer of the authorities. Then my host and the informant began to argue indigenously. It looked as if it was getting pretty serious and my host said that it was'nt so important for me to report to the police. But the informant said the contrary and it ended up that a former soldier wanted to end the discussion and since he had no luck, a crowd started gathering in front of the fisherman's house.
Later came a higher officer and other authorities. All this happened in front of the house in this small fishing village. It got increasingly critical and I started to get concerned. The authorities asked me whether I was stupid and didn't I know that it was very dangerous to ride through the country by bicycle and he guaranteed to inform his boss and send me home immediately .
I told him that I had a visa and had no intention of going home.

This discussion went to another level amd became increasingly louder which I had never experienced before.
They then discussed what should happen next. By now there was almost certainly a 100 people gathered around the house who got involved shouting that I had to be from another planet. This village was so isolated from the environment on the basis of the civil war that many had never seen a white man before. I knew that I looked different but that I could be from another planet, was really something else. After some time, they agreed to take me to the neighbouring village to talk to the police chief there.

Further discussion I could'nt follow as they used an indigenous language. Then, after 2 hours my visa was void and I was arrested. They wanted to bring me to the headquarters to stay over night. Everything I had with me was seized and the police picked me up at 3am after being on a jungle road for 2 hours and I was sure that I would be expelled without knowing why. After the interrogation they allowed me to sleep.

The next day, thinking that I was about to face another interrogation and as my visa was in still order and that they now realised that I was cycling around the world they started to mellow and became friendlier. Now that they were treating me in a better manner I knew that the only remaining formality was to let me go. Later I discovered the reason for the whole facade. Many things happened simultaneously. Maybe the people in the village were right thinking that I was from another planet, and they wanted that I should leave for my own safety. At the same time, they wanted to know what I wanted here. Not very many tourists ever went there.
Only days earlier an aircraft with 600 kg of cocaine had been seized. It might have come from Colombia or Venezuela and the pilot had hidden in the bush. Therefore, the informant thought that I might be involved.
Then the police chief wanted to prevent any further embarrassment so he invited me to his house to have palm wine and to stay over. He also informed me that some of his colleagues from the north of the country which is diamond country would allow me to check out some of the mines. So it all ended happily.

Last Updated ( Sunday, 07 March 2010 01:13 )