Friday, April 16, 2010

The city of Varela (my surname) in Guinea-Bissau (J5UAP)

Looking at J5UAP's entry I just found out that his QTH in Guinea-Bissau is called Varela, exactly like my surname.
Varela, a prosperous holiday resort in the Portuguese colonial days, today is just a few ruins of the past splendor. The beach maybe even more beautiful, the noise level lower than in Senegal.
No wonder, since in Guinea-Bissau, including Bissau, the capital, there is no mains supply, the very few electric appliances are powered by small diesel generators or solar panels.
Though it was a flourishing seaside resort a few decades ago, today, there is only one campsite in Varela, hosting J5UAP's QTH as well. Fortunately, there is a cellphone relay station on the site, providing 230V mains supply 16 hours a day. For the eight remaining hours, they can run battery powered or use their own small generator. Compared to the noiseless bands, marvelous surroundings and last but not least the great Italian cuisine of their host, these are only marginal annoyances.
From Cap Skiring, there are two ways to reach Varela: on the road, through the town of Ziguinchor (capital of the Casamance region in Senegal), it's only about a hundred miles but takes more than 5 hours due to the border crossing and the difficult dirt road on the Bissau-Guinean side, or by crossing the border by boat, greatly reducing the distance and time needed to get there.
You can see very interesting pictures at J5UAP's website

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