I finally tear myself away from the amazing hiking in Doucki, and continue to wind through the mountains. As hard as I try, I can’t find a river crossing with a ferry – even when my map says there will be a ferry I somehow wind up at a crossing with a bridge. I’m looking forward to taking the Jeep across a rickety old ferry.
Market day is always a highlight in remote towns, and people travel in from far and wide to sell a few things and buy a few things. Early in the morning the best fruits and vegetables are on offer – everything from papaya and huge watermelon to cucumbers and carrots. Rice and potatoes always make a solid showing, though I’m yet to see much variety of vegetables – no broccoli, cauliflower peas or beans. When I arrive early enough I snap up whatever lettuce and tomato I can find, which I’m loving on sandwiches. French is widely spoken, though in the smaller villages lots of the sellers only speak a native langue, and we converse through hand signals or someone else translates for me.
I can always just hold out a handful of small coins and the seller will take the correct amount and give me change when needed. The people here are extremely honest, and always smile widely.
I have learned just a few words in a couple of native languages, and it always makes people light up to hear me say “Hello”. Immediately they unleash in their language, and laugh and smile when I say “I speak a little” repeatedly because it’s really the only thing I can say.
Speaking of sandwiches, it seems all of these former French colonies have not lost the art of bread making. Every single village has multiple bakers, who daily bake a kind of delicious baguette. At first I was buying a couple at a time, but they’re so good fresh I would always eat them right away, so now I usually buy about five for a few dollars. That way I can eat a few while they are hot and fresh, and keep a few for lunches and breakfast.
Dan Grec has set out to drive his Jeep Wrangler for 2 years and 80,000 miles in a circumnavigation of the African continent, solo.