Magun's Compass
Learn from the Travel Experiences of Others

In Malanville....

We were driven along loose dirt tracks around the edge of the town to avoid police checkpoints. At the end of yet another rubbish-tip, the driver stopped in front of a few mud shacks.

In the shade of a rather large tree, a fat mamma lay on a straw mat with her big, black breasts almost smothering the face of her runny-nosed child. Two girls played at being hairdressers, an older brother listened to his favourite cassette, but there was no sign of the Cotonou car.

The border-taxi left us to wait. We waited..... And waited.

I began to curse my naivety as the long minutes dragged on towards half an hour. The people in the encampment could not even speak French: Mamma had about as much energy as a beached whale; did she ever move? Porto Novo began to cry; perhaps the Cotonou driver had robbed us. My mind was running wild, so I walked over to comfort Porto Novo.

Beside her, all our bags were safely covered with a blanket! Apparently, Cotonou had tried to carry some locals across the border and was forced to pay a bond at the bridge. He had emptied the car of its load so that he could claim his money back.

Porto Novo sighed a 'Grace a Dieu' when our car appeared, and we loaded up again.

Waiting in Africa There may not be a lot of traffic between towns but the cars that do travel the considerable distances tend to be pushed to the limit.

Overloaded, and travelling too fast, the braking required to avoid entering the rear of struggling lorries continually awakens the dozing passengers.

The driver's concentration is paramount, and it seems that only loud music keeps him alert and charged.

I was squeezed in the front seat, next to the exporter.... who took it upon himself to constantly remind the driver to ease off the accelerator, if we were to avoid certain calamity.

It nearly happened twice.


Africa Index

Nomadic Gatherings - Travels in Asia and Australia

Travel on trains and buses in Asia, then jump into cars with complete strangers in Australia and New Zealand as Michel introduces you to a collection of characters that bring Nomadic Gatherings to life.

If you can't afford to buy a copy of Nomadic Gatherings, the chapters are slowly being made available online - for free.

You may even decide that it really is worth having a hard copy in your hands; a useful read for those long bus journeys being written about, and for endless waits at ferry ports.

Nomadic Gatherings - Online Chapters.

Find out more about Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe, The Middle East, and The Americas.
Magun's Compass

Originally Hosted on Geocities - in 1996

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