Day 209: His Darkest Days

28.07.09: The popcorn was sweet. Just like Sierra Leone. I sprung out of bed at the unholy hour of 4am, because that’s when I heard that the bus left for Monrovia, the capital of Liberia. When I got to the ‘bus station’, there was no bus, but to be fair, there was no station either. So I paid for a spot in the bush taxi for the border (I was the first to arrive and so I bagged the front seat) and waited for the damn thing to fill up. It was after 9am before we left. I could have had a lie in. Ack! But none of that matters, because I bought some popcorn from a lady sitting at the side of the road. Homemade and in a polythene bag, joy of joys: IT WAS SWEET. And fresh. Oh yeah. I decided there and then,…

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Day 208: The Brain Drain

27.07.09: It was an early start as I left the comfort of Paul and Helga’s place, said my hearty cheerios and headed to the Liberian embassy to buy myself a visa. I arrived at 8am and the Liberian embassy (it was literally someone’s house!) wasn’t quite open, and I accidently managed to wake everyone up. In the Lonely Planet guidebook, it indicated that it would take fifteen minutes to get my visa, but they asked me to come back at 2pm. I explained that I was in a bit of a rush and asked if they could ring me when it was ready, which they said they would do. Nice chaps, actually. If some ginge had woken me up at 8am on a Monday morning, I would have made chips out of him. While they were processing my passport, I headed into town to see how…

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Day 207: In Tidy Attire

26.07.09 Had a bloody superb Sunday. Nowt to do, I slept in, uploaded my videos, wrote some blog, chatted to Mand, HAD A BATH! Oh yeah, this is my kind of Sunday. Helga rustled up some ‘scouse’ for me to eat and it was bloomin’ marvellous. Early to bed, a perfect day of doing perfectly nothing. Ahhhhh.

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Day 206: Drunk n’ Laughing

25.07.09: I was reading a book recently about a deaf guy who worked for the Peace Corps in Zambia. It was a ripping yarn, but one thing that he said stuck with me. The joke is that Peace Corp-ers who get sent to South America come back politicised and radical, people who get sent to Asia come back holistic and spiritually aware, and people who get sent to Africa come back drunk and laughing. I can see his point. There is no other way to deal with this place. Sierra Leone is the poorest country on Earth. That is, obviously, not a title to be proud of. With unemployment running at 80%, one of the lowest life expectancies and levels of education in the world, it’s staggering that this little country cannot figure out how to make any money for the people from its vast natural…

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Days 202 to 205: The Roast

Day 202: The Wheels On The Bus Go FWAP FWAP FWAP 21.07.09: As the dawn was breaking ahead of us (myself and two guys from my shared taxi) we crossed over the bridge (there’s ALWAYS a bridge!) into Mali. It was a Kodak moment, I wish there had been a camera op there, Matt would have loved it. From there, we walked to the place from whence we get the bus to Bamako, the capital. The bus was sitting there waiting for us, ready to leave. Although good old WAWA was on hand to ensure things didn’t run that smoothly. The bus waited for HOURS before it was quite ready to leave, thank you very much. Isaac, one of the guys who had shared the taxi with me from Tambacounda, translated that many of the people already waiting, had been there since yesterday. This did not…

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