|More frustration with language...I definately urge anyone coming to Africa to have a working knowledge of French, I think we are missing at least 50% of what goes on here because of our poor language skills!!
Dec 1 Got tickets(STMB) for Ghana border after wandering all over from the migration office where we picked up our Entante Visas(cover 5 countries)...after returning to hotel & much discussion decided to see more of B.F. At bus station nxt am (now Dec 2) we exchged tickets for travel to Bobo, bus leaves at 230 so we head for Le Pavillon Vert which is close to bus station. It is an ON spot we had considered from LP, nice gardenlike setting as described in LP "clamorous African streets just outside the gate ". We decide to make reservations for our return on the 4th...met Anthony Pelser & Ernestine(Dutch couple) he retired fro, 30 yrs w/ UN mostly in Africa , she was a bank officer, very interesting talk w/ them .
Bus left on time !!! Got to Bobo at 730 all seats full, reg. Size bus but seats about a third as wide as most buses, ha ! I counted 16 vehicles stopped in the roadway(no real place to turn out) during our 5 hrs drive all but one were broken down transport(like semis) trucks in vars stages of repair...given that its only 2 lanes and fairly narrow at that and sometimes only fresh cut branches used to warn of their presence , I was glad most of the trip was during daylight !! The road was very smooth, almost new...in fact later we found out that it is considered the best road in all Africa...the driver drove 90 km /hr(60 mph) all the way !!!
In Bobo we stayed at Campement le Pacha-pricey,especially the restaurant...again LP quoted rates are way too low !
Dec 2 Spent most of the day trying to arrange transport toLoropeni, 39 km west of Gaoua on road to Banfora...ancient ruins whose origins remain a mystery & nearby the village of Obire and the Sanctuaire de Roi Gan(remains of a sanctuary of the Gan kings).
A fellow(guide) stopped Jake on the street and since he spoke some English we could get info for a day trip which amounted to a 4 to 5 hour drive each way ! He had trouble getting his vehicle to come so we could see it and meet the driver so we also checked into the only travel agency listed in the LP to get prices from them...guide price for car & driver=20,000CFA, agency price=105,000CFA ! Huge difference put us in a quandry, we definately couldnt afford the agency(amounted to over $60 US each !) but the guides price was way lower and not seeing the vehicle or driver, well...
We headed off to the STMB bus station to get return tickets for Ouaga on the 4th (guide claimed hed have car when we returned). By the time we returned still no car, now we sat for another hour but just as we gave up the wait lo and behold up comes "the car and driver". Hmmm ! We were very suspicious since the car was just a regular city taxi which just happened to pull up ! Leaving the guide behind still arguing with Jake the rest of us just walked off ! Poor Jake had to deal with the guide who claimed we owed him for the calls he made on our behalf etc ! I think Jake eventually gave him some to cover calls. Then we tried to hail a taxi to take us to a restaurant 4 km out of town which acording to LP was unique and maybe had more info for us...getting in the driver seemed to know where we wanted to go but no, he drove in circles so we asked to be let out and then he claimed we owed him $$ !!! Bush ! We are now all tired and pissed and not very pleasant to be around...Jake headed off to cool off, I headed to an internet, Mari headed back to the ON place to do clothes she said, and Bon stood frustrated because she still thought we should pursue going out to the restaurant and get more info !!!
Long story short we all ended up back at the ON place late afternoon and discussed our options...none whqt we came to Bobo for but...then who should show up at the place but the guide with car and driver. A long discussion ensued, the guide quoted a new price of 30,000CFA Jake was now jazzed and so was Mari, I was more skeptical but to turn down the opportunity now seemed like another "turning our backs on the boat trip" deal again, and I was very hesitant to repeat a past disappointment for even less reason ! Bon was very skeptical ! We looked at the car and met the driver...both seemed legit and in the end we went for it, arranging to leave at 7 am for the entire day, we cover gas !