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Thursday, August 28, 2014

COUNTRY #216: GUINEA

Welcome, country #216, Guinea.  I didn't know there was such a nation.  It joined the United Nations in 1958, the year it gained independence from France, and when I graduated from high school.    Don't confuse this country with Equatorial Guinea or Papua New Guinea.

More than half a century later, the first free and fair election was held in 2010.  Alpha Conde (left) is now president, but in 2011 he survived an attack on his residence by the military in a coup attempt.  He finally kicked out military members from his cabinet.  This is a republic.

Guinea is located in West Africa, in the region of the current Ebola crisis:

The country is about as large as the United Kingdom with a population of around 10.5 million, with a life expectancy of only 55.  Eighty-five percent are Muslims.  It is the world's second largest producer of bauxite and has rich deposits of diamonds and gold.  The official language is French.

If you're thinking of traveling there, don't.  Ebola is here.  Lawlessness and criminality are widespread.  Most of the crime is committed by officials in military uniform. and foreigners are considered targets of opportunity.  Especially watch out at the airport and markets.  Don't take photos near military bases and political buildings.  The police are completely ineffective.  Corruption is widespread.   Tap water is unsafe for drinking.  Malaria is prevalent.  Appreciating that some people can be perversely adventurous, here is a tourist guide.  I had to show at least one photo, for I liked the color scheme.

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