Day 174: Gabon. It’s Like Being Held Hostage By A 10 Year Old.

Q: What do you do if a country refuses to give you an exit stamp?

I’m vexed here.

Stranded in Cocobeach, a small village on the border between Gabon and Cogo, Equatorial Guinea.

All that separates me from Equatorial Guinea, a country I have a visa for, is a swimmable ocean inlet.

The “immigration post” here in Cocobeach is brutal.

It’s a dystopian immigration mentality.

I can’t think of a worse experience, except when I entered Gabon.

Keep in mind I entered Israel with one shoe on, after walking there from Jordan.

Interrogated, yes.

Allowed to enter, yes.

Entering Gabon was a nightmare.

Trying to leave it has posed one of the most difficult travel questions I have ever had to answer.

What can you do if you’re at a border with a valid visa for both the country you’re in and the country you’re entering, except the country you need to leave won’t issue you a exit stamp?

Because they insist the border is closed.

How do I solve this problem?

My options are:

1) I drive back to Libreville (3 hours) get my exit stamp there, then drive back to Cocobeach and cross the border into Cogo.

2) Go back to Libreville and see if I can charter a boat to Malabo, the capital and island, off the coast of Equatorial Guinea?

3) Go Northeast and enter Cameroon through Bitam. bypassing Equatorial Guinea all together.

4) I swim to Equatorial Guinea without a Gabon exit stamp.

But with a valid Equatorial Guinea visa. Explain to the authorities I was refused the stamp.

The strategy I’ve chosen is getting my exit stamp for Gabon, in Libreville.

Then driving back to Cocobeach.

Hiring a boat to drop me at the immigration building in Cogo, Equatorial Guinea. on the other side of the swimmable inlet.

The Gabonese immigration thugs here insist the border is closed because of Equatorial Guinea, but I can’t verify that.

I’m assuming that if I arrive at the Equatorial Guinea border with an exit stamp from Gabon and a visa for Equatorial Guinea, they’ll have to let me in.

I have no where else to go.

Can’t turn back once I get that exit stamp.

This has to work.

It has to.

The bright side of all this gross border shit is I’m learning a lot about my weaknesses and my strengths.

I realized today that when I’m angry I can’t think properly.

I become so defensive that I take on an entitled demeanor.

Like a pompous dandy boy asshole, from proletariat oppressed 17th century France.

The “you can’t do that” or “that’s not possible” approach, despite my best efforts, is not helping to move me along.

Every rule or law, at some point contradicts itself.

It’s where these contradictions occur that rules and laws are weakest.

Laws and rules are, after all, subject to any interpretation.

The exit stamp is either proof I have left the country or am in the process of trying to do so.

Once the exit stamp is obtained my visa for that country is concluded.

Between every exit stamp and entry stamp, is limbo.

I need to be in limbo.

Limbo is my leverage.

Usually I solve my problems by talking.

That option doesn’t exist for me here.

Because I sound like a retarded Frenchmen.

Mes excuses si vous êtes un retardé.

Instead of language, I must rely on my creativity.

Use Gabons border policies against them.

Look for any weakness, then grind my dirty feet on their couch.

No more anger.

No more self destructive outbursts and panicked pleading.

I will navigate calmly and with clarity.

This is my sacred oath.

From what I’m reading, the border between Equatorial Guinea and Cameroon could also be problematic.

Probably.

Probablymatic.

I might have to get my exit stamp for Equatorial Guinea in Bata, then cross into Cameroon.

Mirroring the Gabon strategy, if of course it works, exactly.

Not relying on a border to issue a exit stamp, per se.

Let’s see how this plays out.

Not even in Nigeria yet and I’m already battle tired.