Arriving In Ouagadougou – An Adventure Itself.
So you’ve travelled through Asia a couple of times, visited remote places like French Polynesia for a special occasion and your next holiday is already within reach; you’ve had French as a foreign language in high school and you even liked it somehow (not only because your teacher was smokin’ hot)? So why not pick this interesting named country for you next vacation: Burkina Faso.
We just returned from a trip to Burkina Faso.
We didn’t really plan this trip at all. It was an instinct decision that could have gone terribly wrong. Just two days after booking our tickets, the French invasion of Mali began and we were a bit uncomfortable after realizing that travel warnings had been set up for the Northern part of the country and therefore also the “Festival au Désert” had been postponed. But we wouldn’t be ourselves if this would have kept us from going, so we quickly shoved our initial concerns aside and started planning the trip.
We’ve been to Africa a couple of times before and knew that booking a hotel in advance is a must when the plane arrives after dark as it was the case with us. Many airports in Africa tend to welcome you either in twilight or in complete darkness and facilities are often not up to international standards, which was the same in Ouagadougou. Money changing facilities or hotel/car/tourist info counters didn’t make it here yet … or at least not at 11 pm.
As it often happens to us (or at least it feels like it), we managed to pick the slowest line to get through immigration, therefore we were also the last ones to exit into the arrival hall. A bunch of taxi drivers immediately jumped on us, but we had a pick up arranged through the hotel. Yet the driver was not in sight, so we started to look around a bit. The only brightly lit shop was a strange looking butcher … not what you’d usually expect upon arrival.
Ok, so what now? No money changer anywhere, mosquitoes and a bunch of people who were just as bothering as the mosquitoes. Finally someone pointed at a little cubicle with tinted windows; we opened the screeching door and it was an ATM machine. We just hoped that the machine wouldn’t swallow our credit card (as it was just the first day and we didn’t have any money yet), but it actually worked. As we expected, all over sudden we (again) became very interesting for everybody.
Time Is Slow In Africa.
Time is slow in Africa, so we didn’t stress out either. We asked someone to “borrow” us his mobile phone for which we had to pay and exorbitant amount – this is what you call a tourist trap – but we couldn’t be bothered since we just wanted to get to the hotel. We tend to call these things “development assistance”. Anyway, we could get a hold of our promised driver who had just been taking a nap in the airport parking lot. Now we were on our way in a battered old Peugeot 504, whose good days have long passed. But the engine was purring like a kitty … apart from some insignificant hick ups of the exhaust pipe.
Our driver totally obeyed the traffic rules, which is rather uncommon in these countries. He even drove at normal speed and assured us that we would be at our hotel in no time. And he was right. Residence Galiam turned out to be a good choice in a quiet neighbourhood with a little pool and a pleasant front yard. By midnight we were sleeping like babies, ready for what the next morning would hold…