After another comfortable night in the Balys Hotel .. an early morning return to the taxi garage looked more promising. By 10 am we were finally away .. with a very good idea why this
particular car had taken so much time in filling all its seats. Most Peugeot 504 estate taxis use the 3 - 4 - 3 seating system .. ours was stuffed full of people with a 4 - 4 - 3 configuration.
previous day's fruitless wait, I had reserved my favoured front window seat and was amazed when the driver and two passengers got in the front ahead of me. I enquired fairly forcibly as to who the impostor was: "No
mistake, please get in monsieur.""Huh ? Where ?!!"
Weighing in at 90+ kilos and around 1.9 metres tall .. it looked an impossibility .. but I managed it .. just. More of me was leaning out
of the window than was inside the car.
Ideal for taking photographs, but a bit hard on my already sunburnt right arm .. suffering from over-exposure to the sun since the start of our journeys. Next time you sit in
your own car, imagine the scene in the front of ours: The driver .. of a similar size to myself .. next to him passenger #1 ( luckily a slim guy ) .. then the centre console and gear stick ..
then passenger #2 ( also slim-ish ) and then me. Passenger #2 and I became quite a practised duo at moving our legs in unison, each time the driver stretched over passenger #1 to attempt a gear change.
Obviously this wasn't the first time our driver
had been squeezed up, struggling for arm and leg room. He grinned broadly at our discomfort whilst driving at presidential speeds .. via
Dabola and Sisséla towards Kouroussa and the plains of Eastern Guinea .. the Haute Guinée.
Factfile 15: Many West African dignitaries and their entourages are driven at very fast
'presidential speeds' when travelling across their countries Usually in convoy and often with outriders clearing the roads before them, sirens blaring and a lot of fuss. Whether this is just
for prestige or to make a more difficult moving target, depends on the people concerned !
It is definitely most unwise not to immediately drive off the road, until they have passed by.
The beautifully green countryside was sparsely populated with tiny villages*
of thatched huts, hidden amongst the trees, near meadows where cattle, sheep and goats contentedly grazed.