Returning with another Hausa friend, who had volunteered to be our guide .. we taxied to the Marché de Niger. Unlike the Madina .. this is a scattered market consisting mainly of
individual shops*, rather than stalls, with one large building housing woodcarvers and traders' booths in fairly dull lighting conditions. Thousands of
carvings and silver items were on offer, all at inflated tourist prices. Unless an expert .. it would be impossible to distinguish old from new .. especially with the wood carvings .. mostly hiding under a few
years of authentic dust !
Very few beads were on show .. those that were on offer were mainly new ones and of the "tourist fodder" variety at unrealistic prices. Friendly dealers, but business seemed
Another night in the Hotel Galion before a proposed early start on our journey into the fabled countryside to Mamou the following morning. As is usually the case .. last minute deals, people
wanting to see Alaghi to give him messages to pass on to family members we would meet along our route, reduced price offers from various traders on goods which we had expressed a slight interest in over the previous
days, etc. etc. .. held up our progress to the Mamou taxi-garage. A young lad offered his services to carry both our heavy bags on his head through the crowded streets and we arrived around 10.30am
for a three hour wait whilst our taxi filled.
Whilst waiting, a young lady calmly walked up carrying a large sack of rice on her head .. lifted it off with ease and went back for two more. The 'British
gentleman bit' forced me to enquire if she needed a hand .. luckily not .. as it would have been a struggle for me just to lift a bag
** to waist height !! Alaghi hurried back to the Medina to get something he had forgotten .. so, said young lady and I went for something to eat and drink, the taxi driver saying he would call us if necessary.
Returning we found Alaghi in some panic in case I had been abducted .. sadly not ! We chatted and laughed with Oumou and her family until the taxi was ready to leave.
My personal opinion of Conakry City: very
busy, very overcrowded, with scruffy suburbs and too many cars with badly fuming engines. However there are some better parts, especially near the coast, with evidently some quality accommodation and facilities on the
Iles de Los .. a group of islands just a few kilometres offshore, frequented by ex-pats especially at weekends.
Worth a short visit to explore, see the sights and meet the people .. who to us were charming.