giovedì 9 febbraio 2012

Chegando nas Ilhas Bijagos

After a long and heavy controlled border crossing we finally entered Guinea Bissau, one of the poorest country of all Africa. Despite its dark fame of being a narcostate, the brder policemen were friendly and fine. From now on I started to be the Portuguese official translator of our small group although too many locals can not speak other than Criollo, which is a strange mixture of "Portuguese and Sicilian" dialect. The road to Biassau was well paved but we had often to stop because of strange check point made of local policewomen handing a rode tied in a big tree on the other side of the road, they seemed to ask the driver for help and he quickly gave them a few coins. On the main check points there were lot of women and kids selling oranges, cakes "brazilian bolo"-like, wallnuts and water whereas the small vialleges we passed through seemed very simple and I did not see lot of shops nor markets. The ladscape was really beautiful, 2mtall grasslands were sorrounding the road, small lakes, rivers and dry swamps were intervalling patch of forested earth and considering that in this 2hours ride we crossed a handful of cars, I may say that GB, except the capital, remains one of the least polluted country I have ever been. As we arrived to Bissau, I realized that the few information I had of this small capital were right; accommodation is not cheap nor easy to find, yet there were some Hungarians came here by jeeps and many hotels were fully booked, after 1hr search we stumbled upon a shabby hotel room with no running water and a small bed for me and Ale, whereas Carlo unrolled his flea-bag on the floor. After a good churrasco dinner at Gran via (no need to say that it reminded me Brazilians churrascarias...que saudade) then we hurried to our room where we have been almost killed by strong humid heat and hungry Guinean mosquitos. At b5 o'clock we arrived in the darkness of Bissau commercial harbour and had the chance to catch a 15m wooden pirogue after it had loaded its ciment, beer, food, livestock and human cargo. We soon discovered that the pirogue staff had no ladder available, thus we all had to slide down a 2m rope, easier than it seemed but for sure an original way to get on a boat. The 4 hrs cruise was plain and quiet, I read a magazine, Carlo took a nap until a cock reminded us of his job at 8o'clock, and Ale suffered nervous every single minute until we got to Bubaque. No floating vest was provided on the boat and he can not to blame him?
As soon as we landed, we found a lovely, simple; cheap campement chez Titi who provided us with delicious fish dinners and good breakfast. By the way these islands are one of the last paradise of ocean fishing 4but Koreans, Americans and European technological ships already started the pillage of this sea with the local polititicians agreement) and at dusk the harbour of Bubaque is full of teenagers who can fish so many carps, thunas and pargos even with simple fishing lines. Of course the few luxury hotels organize expensive fishing cruises, but even when they catch huge 20kg barracudas it sounds me an impartial battle.
After a 10 days here I really started to appreciate a very slopace lifestyle, fine and lovely people, qt the beginning shy but really friendly. One of the very highlight of Bubaque was the many electrical black outs that from one side obliged us to keep almost disconnected from Internet and from 90% of communication duties and  hassles and on the other side once again gave us the oportunity to visit and walk around Bubaque lighted just by the moon light. Can you imagine it? I could not before I came to Africa, in Italy I am so used to public lights that it was a kind of magic to be roofed by a brilliant sparkling rain of stars sometimes surrounded by clouds prairies. Yet it was so nice to walk around sheeps, goats, pigs and cows whose shape could just be guessed under the moonlight exactly as it happened at Barrio Caracol where some groups of local youngsters were talking, dancing or getting drunk by palmwine at the darkness of the nights. No point in saying that I would have loved to spend more time there and to pick up some Criollo language, however I am glad to have been able to get there and hope that this paradise wont be destroyed too fast.

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