The streets were dry and dusty, lined with clapboard buildings, some of which looked like the pictures I’d seen of Tombstone, Arizona. A mosque with teal minarets made things less wild west, and more…well. It was actually a pretty city, in its own way.
And we stuck out like sore thumbs. Two white, blonde women rolling into town. People on the street wore jeans or slacks and t-shirts. Some of the women had colorful dresses or tunics over slacks. I didn’t see anything that I would have considered traditional African dress.
Probably the jeans were cheaper. The vehicles I saw were mostly SUVs and pickups, and I assumed that the minor roads in town were pretty bad.
“Do we have an address?”
Thruor nodded. “Yes. But I’m going to check us into the hotel first. I’m not driving in this country at night. Too much of that road wasn’t fenced.”
I saw her point. Wildlife and possibly bandits? More the wildlife. And the vampires. I couldn’t forget the vampires.
The hotel reminded us we were in a place that wasn’t always safe – it had a high wall and a gate around it. But it also had clean rooms, fridges, and even internet access so I could email Kanesha and make sure she knew we were safe. Or as safe as we could be.
I felt exposed. I knew part of it was how much we stood out amongst the dark faces. Part of it was that sense of not belonging here.
We needed to find the woman, confirm her identity, and get out of here before anything really unpleasant found us.
I should have known it was already too late. We dumped our stuff in the room, and then headed out onto the streets. It was warm, but not hot, but I still felt pale.
We even got looks. I didn’t get the impression western tourists came here. I suspected any white people here were on some kind of business trip.
Well, so were we, but we were definitely being stared at. I focused on not being important and the effect diminished, but it didn’t entirely go away.
“They think we’re rich.”
I shrugged. “Aren’t we?”
But they still didn’t seem to be dirt poor here. The hotel concierge had spoken some kind of English that wasn’t regular English, but it was understandable. The city was big enough that we probably couldn’t walk too far, but it seemed Thruor’s goal was in downtown.
It turned out to be a restaurant. “Let’s see if she comes as I asked or if she gets scared. In the mean time.”
In the mean time we ordered Lebanese food, which is apparently very popular in Sierra Leone.
And we waited.