Saturday, January 19, 2019

Bushcamp, Liberia to Man, Côte d'Ivoire, January 19, 2019

We were on the road by 7:30 after having tried to fill our water tank only to run the well dry!  I hope it re-fills before Monday morning.  The road was red dirt until the border where we exited easily.  The process is super slow because they don't have computers so they have to copy everything by hand into the big ledger.  I always try to get rid of the last countries money at the border and usually get close to the XE rate, something you don't usually get elsewhere.  Once at the Cöte d'Ivoire border, I became the interpreter.  Lots of people speak English but they pretend they don't, but if someone says something in English they'll answer so their ruse is up.  With the polic man  I opened passports to the visa page then to the bio page so he could write out the info, even though they had a passenger list.  Then a second cop decided he would stamp the passports and soon they were all mixed up.  Eventually they finished and then we had to go across the "street" to customs to get the truck in.  A while ago, Marc, an 18 year old German "joined" us - he drives a VW van and follows us around and eats with us (he's not in a cook group either).  First he was transporting Melissa, a 33 year old woman from our trip until she left and now he's got April who is suffering from a bad back.  Anyway, he needed a copy of his vehicle documents so had to pay a guy to go back to Liberia to get the photocopy.  Such political B.S.  
This was nice to see - I've been donating to Save the Children for years-

We were soon "in" and on our way-

Eventually we hit pavement, well mostly as there were still quite a few pothole dirt spots, mainly where the road floods during the rainy season.  We are still driving through rainforest I guess you'd call it and it's hot but not so humid-

After leaving the border we were told to stop in Danané and report to the police but there was a bit of a mix up.  We were supposed to follow a motorcycle into the city from a police stop but didn't and by the time the cop got to the truck wanting our passports, almost everyone had left for lunch.  He wasn't too happy with us but 3 of us gave ours so he knew we couldn't take off without reporting in.  After a lunch of fried chicken, Orangina 😀 and gorgeous French bread- yeah for the French!  I went to the police station to see if I could speed things up. Well no, the Chief had to come and I don't think I'm imagining this but he was flirting with me and kind of creeping me out!  He told me about his family, how they wanted to move to Canada, how his wife was studying to be a mid wife and could I guess his age?  I said 42 and I was right.  Sure I was.  Whatever.  I was trying to get out of there but he had to come back to the truck with me and take numerous pictures of the truck, me, Will, and us with the truck.  Finally he said we were free to go.  So weird.  

Eventually we got to Man and ended up in a gorgeous park like spot where I upgraded to my OWN room with a BATHROOM and AC!  Have I died and moved on to heaven?  And it's for two nights!  

Some are leaving at 7 tomorrow to hike some mountain but I'm going exploring Man.

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