The previous day had been really difficult. I hooked up with a rider from the Czech Republic and we rode together from Pointe Noire in the Congo (Republic) to Ndende in Gabon. It was a really long ride and mostly off road. Just over 400 kilometers from Pointe Noire to Ndende. We left early the morning and only arrived in Ndende after ten pm at night. Covered in mud, absolutely exhausted and just wanting a place to wash ourselves and pass out for the night.
I was thoroughly exhausted and my patience wearing thin, which takes some doing as I usually have all the patience in the world! I thought that by teaming up with a man and riding together, it would lend me some extra security. Turned out he was more of a danger to me and I felt like I needed to babysit him. Forever falling stuck in the mud, chasing through villages, and then cursing at the locals when he got frustrated with falling stuck in the mud. This was a big no-no in my books! So we rode together for one day and then each went their own way. No hard feelings, we just weren’t meant to be traveling together.
I spent about 15 hours on the road the previous day and only managed a few hours sleep. But I was intent on reaching Libreville that same day. After the day I had, I just needed some positivity and crossing the equator would be just the thing to cheer me up!
So my Czech friend, Alan, stayed behind in Lamberene and carried on towards Libreville.
I absolutely LOVE Gabon. I love the atmosphere, the jungles, the people, the warmth. I had always envisioned what it would be like when I finally reached Gabon, and it certainly didn’t let me down! I felt a great sense of achievement as I neared the capital city, Libreville. I finally reached the equator sign and guess what?! Road works trucks blocked the sign!!! I was too tired to even work myself up about it and just shook my head and managed a smile.
The sun was starting to set and I had NO idea where I was going to stay for the night. I started looking out for any hotel or camping signs. I pulled over on the side of the road to take a break and collect my thoughts. I was starting to stress out a bit as I really didn’t know where I was going and I know it’s never a great idea to be riding around at night.
A truck pulled up behind me and a man got out. He rolled out a prayer mat behind me and started praying. I felt slightly uncomfortable and didn’t know what to do. I did not want to talk to him as I might disturb him and certainly did not want to show any sign of disrespect. So I just stood there, frozen, silently waiting for him to finish his prayer.
When he finished he rolled up his prayer mat, faced me and put out his hand to greet me. Between his broken English and my broken French I was able to tell him who I was and what I was doing there. I asked him whether he knew of any good hotels in the area? “No problem, follow me”. And with that he jumped in his truck and I followed him into the city. It was already dark and the traffic so congested that we crawled at a painful 5 – 10 kilometers per hour.
Around nine pm we stopped in front of a hotel, right across from the old stadium. A room would cost me CFA 30 000 for the night. I didn’t care. I was just too happy to have found a place to stay. I was on the 4th floor and my room had a queen sized bed, air conditioner and even a working bar fridge! My samaritan friend helped me to carry all my luggage up to my room and then suddenly disappeared.
About half an hour later there was a knock at my door. My samaritan friend had reappeared and then I understood where he had disappeared to. He had gone to buy me some food! He came back with two bread rolls, some yoghurt, chips, two bottles of soft drinks and throat lozenges. He apparently thought I sounded like I needed them! LOL.
I certainly have many protective angels. I do think, however, that I make them work overtime sometimes.
So grateful for the angels on my journey!
A big thank you to my samaritan friend in Libreville!