December 12, 2006 GMT
Sierra Sierra leone!

Yes, you heard right after some strict rest, ice, compression and elevation of my bruised big foot we headed for Sierra Leone!! 3 months ago, if you would have said would you camp on the borders of Guinea and Sierra Leone? (where the Australian government websites tells you strictly DO NOT TRAVEL), I would have said you were mad..... but here we are sneakly hiding in the Leonian bushes to set up our tent in the dark.

Beautiful village girl

I was a wee bit dubious before arriving but very exhilarated at the thought of riding through a relatively untouched country. We found our way here after meeting 2 freelance journalist writing a guidebook about the country based in Freetown. So we obtained our visas from Guinea (US$200, well actually $210 because they wouldn't take small denominations so it costs us an extra $10 to exchange on the black market to a $100 bill! ridiculous I know)

The road to Freetown

The borders were no problems, the usual paperwork and running around trying to find the right man for the job...its a real treat that people speak english. We sit around laughing and joking with the police in a round straw hut with a SLR rifle dangling from the roof. They insist we try Poyo, the local palm wine even when we inform them we are riding.... so drink and then drive in Africa.

As we ride into Freetown, 2 policemen on a moped spot us and direct us to follow then. I'm not sure what or where we are going but they proceed to escort us through town and through the thick city traffic!!! its a nice change that they don't want anything, they just wanted to help us. We later ride around the Pennisula to whitesandy beaches and smooth tarmac road but this doesn't last long and we soon hit rusty coloured dirt roads with many little river crossings

one of the many river crossings

When we hit the last border crossing to leave Sierra Leone after treachous rough roads that lasted a few hours, the immigration officer tells us that we cannot get our carnets stamped there as it back 41 miles!!! After some serious convincing that ended with the only solution of Rob stripping off his panniers and riding back to the customs post. As he is about to ride off, a soldier requests a lift with his backpack and live chicken. So off Rob goes with a leonion soldier as I wait at the post entertaining the police for hours.

Rob at the border post, where he had to tediously ride back 130kms back to customs to get our carnets stamped!!!!

Posted by Amy Lee at December 12, 2006 04:43 PM GMT

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