Saturday, February 8, 2014

Maritza on the road to Quebo by Bush Taxi

Today Maritza is making the trip to Quebo, Guinea Bissau. The trip takes about 2 1/2 to 3 hours by car.
"ok as the old cartoons will say ''that's all folks'' at least for today. on my way to my beloved village of Quebo where my Brazilian family lives. and then to wonderful Cussilinta , a river of christal clear waters where I love to swim,meditate and relax. shalom amigos pray for safe traveling mercies...i am taking a bush taxi ! my old unfaithful car may not make it and i can't take a chance you all"

Ah, No car? Next alternative. The ever-exhausting, slow and painful, Bush Taxi.

When traveling through West Africa, you won’t find an extensive infrastructure of public transport.  As a matter of fact, in Guinea Bissau there is only 1 main road. It has a few traffic signs and is devoid of speed limits and the dreaded highway patrol!

Here's what I know about the Bush Taxi

It's not a bus that leaves at a pre-determined time, which connects to a train whose ticket you purchased online, which pulls into the underground driveway of a Central Station, where you follow the signs, put your coins in the machine, and catch the subway to your final destination.

The Bush Taxi is really just a car of sorts (most popular in West Africa, a Peugot 504 station wagon.  Do not picture a new station wagon. It's more like a shell of a vehicle, rusted and ragged. Meant to carry about 9 passengers, I've seen them stuffed with passengers hanging off the roof and the sides. "Folks gotta get where they gotta go!"

The good thing is, a bush taxi will take you just about anywhere you want to go (If there are people living there), most stops off the main highway and into the African bush, hence the name. It will most likely not service the remotest areas such as Djati (you will need to make your way to a more major spot for pick up)

Don't expect the  taxi to leave at a pre set time.

Get to your stop, pay your money, strap your luggage to the roof -  but don't expect the driver to budge until EVERY seat is full. The fares are set so if you want to be on your way soon, you can offer to buy up the tickets for the remaining seats. Once you are on your way there is no direct route. How long it will take, well who knows?  The schedule is unpredictable and you must factor in drop offs, long lunch breaks, random stops for - heaven only knows what - and the inevitable - vehicle breakdowns (no safety inspections required). And when you finally do get to your will probably arrive with a new ache.

But....That's travel in West Africa! All aboard!

I remember our trip to Quebo (by car) thank goodness!

We wish safe travels to Maritza and please give our love to Fredy & Raquel!

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