Magun's Compass
Learn from the Travel Experiences of Others

Niger to Benin....

The Journey from Niger to Benin seemed easy enough, especially as one of the drivers who met the bus from Niamey, the capital of Niger, at Gaya (near the Niger/Benin border) said he was going all the way to Cotonou.

There was no way his gleaming Peugeot would make it in the time he stated, but as my fare would complete the carload, I enrolled myself for the ride.

Once the boot was loaded with an assortment of luggage, there followed a voluble argument. The driver had his passengers secured, but they were not prepared to meet his inflationary price. So the rate was reduced.


Most of the other bus-passengers from Niamey had already dispersed, yet we stalled again.

It appeared that our driver could not take us across the border, but he had a friend who was licensed to do so. Our bags would stay in the Cotonou-bound car while we were to momentarily use the other vehicle.

The girl from Porto Novo was understandably frustrated at the thought of loosing sight of her bag, protested for a moment, and then sighed, re-wrapped her blue and yellow skirt around her waist, and transferred her rather large person to the horrendously battered Peugeot.

. . . . .

PassportThe well-travelled exporter from Niamey caused a stir at the Niger passport control when he refused to show a vaccination card because he was leaving the country.

The officer wanted to keep the exporter's passport; the exporter said he had no right; the immigration man called the exporter into his office to show him about rights; and the cocky little exporter told the immigration man to take off his badge and gun, and to step outside to see about rights.

The whole situation became a little tense.....

More officials stepped in. I was asked for my vaccination card and politely showed it; although I was inclined to agree with the exporter. There was a smile from behind the counter, and my passport was duly stamped and returned.... The exporter's passport was still on the desk; other border-crossers were waved through.

Exporter stood stony faced; one soldier sat on a concrete balcony and listened to his little short-wave radio; another peeled an orange; and I looked across the river to Benin. The exporter was a passenger in our car, and I wished for the matter to be determined swiftly.

The driver with our luggage was allowed through.
Then there was just our car's contingent of passengers,
and the young girl selling oranges

The officials were again disinterested.


The exporter seemed prepared to leave his passport behind when, out of the blue, the immigration man removed his gun belt and badge.

The khaki figure appeared on the verandah stairs, and I expected dust to rise like the entrance of the bulls into a Pamplona ring on a hot day in July.....

But he rode off on his moped!

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

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