Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso
|Transport seems to be our bugaboo! At taxi/bus station by 730...
While waiting a Dogon fellow introduced himself, Where you from! he asked. Montana. Oh, I know that city! Bon corrects him, Its a state! Yes, I,ve been to Lolo! Brought to a halt, we stop our laugh and he says, Do you know David Duncan, a famous writer there? Visit More on David Shyly we answer No! Turns out he is home in Mali to visit his mother on holiday from school in Portland...Ibrahim is married to the a friend of the writers wife. He is a most interesting fellow...tells us if wed gone yesterday the trip would have gone easily because of market day in Bankass(along the way to the border), Saturday as well for same reason, today few are traveling our way
Sevare) Small world ! After he leaves we pow wow since its 930 now and most likely wont leave until perhaps 1030 with 5 more seats to fill ! We pay for the 5 to get going since we must make it to Koro and last bus(were told) leaving at 2 pm. The minibus has hard bench seats, the road is rough(washboard) and the drive is 4 hours but it is not packed since 5 "empty" seats give us all more room. Arriving in Koro at 115 plenty of time, get tickets to Ouhigouya after some confusion which is cleared up by Christine(Nigerian woman speaking English on her way back home) . She regularly travels a circle route : Nigeria-Benin-Togo-Ghana-Ivory Coast- Mali-then back home selling jewelry & clothing she makes/gets at home and other things from Mali to sell in Nigeria.
Now, however the bus does not depart until Christine takes up a collection fro, &é passengers to pay for é seats were waiting to fill !! She says this regularly happens and her French skills allow her to spread the cost around whereas us stupid Gringos paid the full tab in Sevare !!
Off we go...Christine says we can make the connection in Ouahigouya to Ouagadougou leaving at 6. Unfortunately, after being held up at border and several police stops we find out just 6 km from Ouahigouya at police stop that the driver does not have proper papers and finally only allow him to continue into town only w : a policeman in the bus to make sure he returns ie he's busted ! It is 730 and our plan was to stay at the Catholic Mission in Oagadougou but that was when we'd arive by 9. Itwas dark...we debated staying but to get the Entante Visa(for 5 countries) and not have to stay the wekend(wiping out any savings on visas) we'ð figured it best to be in Ouaga early Thur ...takes 24 hrs to process visas...
Christine assured us there was a hotel in our price range nearer the bus station(Catholic Mission is farther out and at 11pm probably closed).
Onward...our longest travel day to date , the last 3 hours on a very cramped bus but luckily we have an English translator who spoke to the taxi driver who then got us to Hotel Delwende in city center that cost us less than the Mission, and w/ fan and shower in the room & desk clerk who spoke English as well-a great help directing the taxi next day to get our Entante Visa . Our guiding star is with us still thru thick and thin !!!
We are enjoying the different cultures but from what we hear from other travellers who have been to E Africa we will thouroughly enjoy our travels there so we look forward to Feb 5 and leaving the West behind. Been here done it no need to return! (altho we enjoyed Mali)
At Hotel Delwende in Ouaga the waiter, Magloire, was terrific ! Always a smile, bringing more hot water & jam, etc . The terrace being above street level was a great hangout since the street vendors could not bother you and the food was not only good but reasonably priced .
Nov 30 Got visas at 5...not alot to see /do...Jake & Mari went to music festival(they can tell you about it)...city is more dirty than Mali cities & towns...but considerably better trash/garbagewise than Guinea,Guinea Bissau,Senegal and Mauritania all of which got progressively worse !!
More bicycles and motorbikes(50 :50) in evidence than in Mali.
I did notice a lot more wood stacked alongside the road , and the Baobob trees tend to have all their branches cut off to the thickest limbs(stubbed back you might say) even 40-50 feet up out on the furthest branches !