I’ve been in Libreville quite long enough, a week, or almost 2 percent of my entire planned trip length. And I have a psychic taxi driver:
“You’re going to Lambarené.” I don’t manage to find out how he knows. The road is pitted for a good couple of hours. There are signs of road improvements, but they seem to be re-surfacing (by simply laying new tarmac over the old stuff) the sections of good road. We pass the equator into the southern hemisphere, but noone bats an eyelid. The vehicle heads straight for Lambarené’s Quartier Isaac south of the Ogooué River (the largest between the Niger and the Congo). Its the livelier, cheaper end of town I was a bit scared of last time.
Next morning I manage to get a direct ticket for Tchibanga, although I change vehicles in Mouila. Its at Mouila that the tar runs out, though thanks mostly to the vehicle I think, the route is still pleasant enough, through forested hills.
I spend 20 minutes trying to access any website before giving up. But it confirms my fate. With no mobile reception in Gabon and no internet access I cannot get money wired to me. This means I cannot afford to reach Mayumba on the coast, but must travel to Ndendé and cash.
At the bus station there is more bad news:
“Is this the ticket office for Ndendé?” I ask.
“Yes, but there is nothing until tomorrow. They leave in the early morning.”
“Tomorrow? But the sign says 14.30.”
“Ah yes, that’s for ticket reservations.” It seems Friday 13th has struck – normally a day I enjoy for things going well – and I’m given room 13 at the hotel.
Crossing the equator means I’ve swapped autumn for spring. It starts to rain again as I return to the hotel. I suspect the December-January dry season may be over, meaning I need to get as far south as I can as quickly as I can. I at least need to get beyond Dolisie, Republic of Congo, where the road returns to tar.