Africa | Burkina Faso | Ouagadougou – Sherifa
Back in Waga. I feel here at the guesthouse like at home. Beside that, when I came in Sherifa, the little girl from the last report, ran to me with open hands shouting mon ami, my beloved. Thats it. Im in love.
Last night we went out to a bar that plays African and reggae music. Gabriel (Austrian), Yoko (Japanese) and a few other that are not too important. After 2 beers I couldnt stop dancing until I was dragged out of there at 2 am.
Came back this moment from the bus station where a bus to Benin was supposed to leave tomorrow morning. Turns out that there is a bus once a week, departing tomorrow, but from a city about 5 hours from here. If I want to make it to this bus Ill have to leave Waga today. Since Im already mentally prepared to go to the pool with Gabriel today, I dont think Ill be on that bus tomorrow.
To tell you the truth, and it also has to do with this bus part above, it might sound strange but I starting to be bored with traveling at its present form. I dont remember if I already told you about Gabriel, the Austrian that is traveling for 5 years already, (and Im too lazy to flip back in my notebook to check if I wrote about him or not) but him and I understood each other from the first moment we met about a week ago. Amazing how both of us had the same experiences during our years of traveling and more so reached the same conclusions from these experiences. A few days ago he expressed in words what Ive been feeling for a long time now, that after so long on the road all the experiences and people you meet on the way are starting to become a routine. The excitement is almost gone (Im sure that if you read what I wrote about Ghana and the enthusiasm I expressed you are raising and eyebrow now but yes, within a short time the routine returned.
The moment the words came out of his mouth, Boom, the bulb in my head lit. Thats exactly what I feel. After almost 7 years of backpacking and wandering around its time to change the way I travel. We have both agreed that from now it suits us more, for example, to organize a group of friends, rent a 4×4 and go on an expedition with a pre defined topic. Reaching some lost tribe, crossing the former USSR until Siberia etc. There is no lack of ideas. It will probably take us a year or two until this idea will mature but I think that this is what eventually will happen.
Some countries have funny sentences that the locals always use. In Thailand for example its same same but different. Here in West Africa when you ask someone if he speaks English the answer is always small small.
An hour ago I said good-bye to Gabriel, and to Yoko (Im at the bus station with 3 hours to burn). Im a little sad because I love them both, each one and his reasons. They both continued to Ghana and I almost returned there with them. Thinking about it now, my life in the past 7 years is composed of one long continuity of separations from people I love. Thats another angle, less pleasant, of looking at traveling as a way of life. Pity I cant take them all with me.
A young man beside me is enthusiastically wiping the floor of the bus station. I never did understand why they dont use a mop, although they have, but instead bend down almost to the floor and wipe it with a cloth. Their broom also is a pack of short straws. Isnt it simpler to connect them to a long piece of wood and clean the floor standing upright? African logic that in my western eyes is totally illogical. Interesting.
Reading what I wrote this morning and smiling to my self. If only I would have known what the rest of the day has planned for me I might have turned back and returned to Waga. Its 3am, Im in bed and surprised I still have energy to write. The bus I took this morning dropped me of at 1pm in Fada Ngourma, a city from which transportation to Benin can be found. No problem till here. To my surprise I found at this hour a vehicle that is going until the first town in Benin after the border. Transportation to Benin is very scares and it takes the vehicles long time to fill, therefore only at 16:00 we were finally on our way. I was a bit worried because in the bible, (Lonely Planet), it was written that the border closes at 18:00 and I didnt see any way in the world how we will make it on time (Turned out that whatever was written in the LP has changed and the border is opened 24h on both sides).
Inside a small van we crammed 25 people. I, who was sitting in the front, thought that there it would be a bit more comfortable. What optimism. We were 4 people! Not including an 11 year old girl and luggage. It was so crowded that my leg fell asleep and I couldnt wake it even on the few stops we made.
To the border we arrived at 21:00. Thick darkness around except the pale light coming from the kerosene lamps of the few food stalls. Since only 2 of the passengers wanted to continue to Benin, the van driver decided not to continue. He found another vehicle, which was waiting at the border, for us to continue with. Now we had to wait until this one will fill. At 23:00 it finally happened. We were on our way again. On the Burkina side things went quite smoothly. Although there were many people in the cue to stamp their travel documents, the driver exchanged a few words with the officer inside, he called me and stamped my passport without even taking a look at it. 10 km later, we arrived at the border with Benin. It was so dark outside that when I got out of the taxi to stamp my passport, I couldnt even see where the structure is. Suddenly 2 small lights turned on. Turns out that the border post is not connected to electricity and the officers are using flashlights. It was funny seeing them checking my passport under a flashlight.
From here on, a dirt road full of holes and puddles and 3 more hours until Natitingou where I took a moto-Taxi to a guesthouse that turned out to be real expensive, but who has the energy at 2am to look for a cheaper place.
First thing made my self a strong Turkish coffee (always have with me), to relax from the journey, and a shower. Now you understand why Im surprised I still have strength to write?
What a shitty day. There is always at least one day like this while traveling. Hope that Im done at least with the statistics. Good night.