Freetown, Baby!


Krapp’s Last tape by jc2010sl
April 6, 2011, 3:29 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags:

After 3 days on the Ile de Rhoume I headed back to Conakry on the islanders’ little pirogue ready to fly to Sierra Leone. On the way to the airport I decided to give the travel agent a call to make sure all was in order. Just as well I did, as it turns out the flight was postponed until the next day. “Change of plan,” I said to the driver “To the Jardin de Guinea” – a little hotel where I’d had dinner the week before. Unfortunately all the rooms were taken, but the barman said he knew of another spot nearby – perfect.

The driver claimed to know the way, but I wasn’t convinced. “I know the way,” said a woman outside, “I work there.” Likely story, I thought, she probably just wants a lift across town, but fair enough, and it’s no skin off my nose in any case. We climbed into the taxi, and she said again “I work at the hotel”, “Yes, yes,” I said “I heard”. “Je suis une masseuse, vous avais compris?” Yes, I thought to myself, I have understood both what you said, and what you mean…

As I got out of the taxi at the next hotel the bony old ghost followed me out. “Thank you, I’ll be fine from here,” I said, but she pursued me into the lobby anyway. Inside, I asked the receptionist for a small room. “It’s just me,” I said, looking pointedly at my new companion. “How rude!” she said as I quickly scurried away.

Perspiring somewhat from my trip across town I was glad to find a bath and bucket of cold water to shower. But where was the plastic cup and towel? Bucket showers are all well and good, but one needs one’s accessories. I asked a member of staff for the necessaries and she proceeded to take me on a “grand” tour of the 10 room dive. “Look, I just want a shower” I pleaded, but my request seemed to fall on deaf ears. As we entered the kitchen I decided to take matters into my own hands and seized a plastic cup from the sideboard. “What are you doing?” she asked, horrified. “Taking a shower!” I replied. “No, no, no, that’s not how we do things.” Heinous as my crime was, at least it prompted my guide to find the desired objects to facilitate my shower.

Showered and refreshed, I headed out for my lunch. “Where’s your wife?” asked the receptionist. My wife!? Talk about insult to injury. She was almost 20 years my senior and had more limbs than teeth. “I believe she was a ‘woman of the night’” I said, translating directly into French. “Vraiment?” asked the receptionist, horrified, “We don’t want that sort in here.” “Well neither do I; make sure she doesn’t come back.” That, at least, seemed a simple enough request to carry out.

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