Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Part 2 of: Trip to the top of Ghana and Burkina Faso!

LIGHTS ON YEA!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I left off at crossing the border at Paga into Burkina Faso... We made the 3 hour drive into the capital Ouagadougou and arrived late evening, checked into the only hotel that had room and went to bed. The next morning we went to the special chief ceremony at the main Chief of Burkina Faso's "palace" where every Friday the other chiefs from around the country come to pay their respects. The ceremony is said to be the Burkina answer to the changing of the guards in London (this I failed to see the resemblance). I have no pictures of the ceremony as it is TOTALLY NOT OK to take photos. I will do my best to describe it. The main chief is dressed all in red and all the other chiefs wear a red crown, which basically looks like one of those hat-like yalmukas (spelling?). The main chief stands close to the palace and then about 12 yards facing him there is the line of all the other chiefs. Near the beginning and again near the end (not exactly at the start or conclusion) two canons are fired, scaring the life out of me (remember I went to sleep at almost 1AM and woke at like 5AM to get to the palace!) After the ceremony we went back to the hotel to check out/switch to another cheaper hotel. Then once settled we went to explore Burkina...

The main thing that surprised me was the number of motorbikes, it was as if no one drove a car! Also their market (behind the bikes in the picture) is covered, in Accra, and every other market it Ghana, is open-air. I must say it is an interesting idea to cover the market, more shade = less heat and sunburns! But it was basically a normal typical African market. We had to take a driver the first day because there is no way really to navigate the city before actually getting an over-all picture of it, done by driving around. So we saw the Palais du Justice, the Ministry, various statues in round-abouts. The thing is everything closes from 12 to 3PM for "lunch," reminded me of France; so we ended up going to the music museum, which isn't even worth including pictures of. As a museum person I was very disappointed, even Asante said it was crap hahaha, at least we learned from this experience we could skip any future music museums in Burkina that we would come across. Overall, I must say I did not enjoy Ouagadougou, it was very expensive, very difficult to get around, people were very stupid, it was dirty, bikes almost killed us too many times, there were more people begging than in NYC and the list goes on.

Sunday Asante and I had decided we had had enough of Ouagadougou and took a bus to the eastern part of Burkina to a town called Fada. I think this was actually my favorite part of Burkina. It was a small town and not too much there but I really enjoyed it. The market was SOOOO much smaller than any other market but it was good to see. I had wanted to buy leather in Burkina because it is known to have very good quality, in Fada especially. We had wanted to go to the leather market there but it was not open that weekend, however we made friends with a guy who took us to a man who makes various items of leather and I was able to get myself something special to remember the trip. Monday we left Fada to go back to Ouagadougou to get another bus to Bobo...

The scenery from the bus ride to Bobo was beautiful. There was so much land that was not being used, this surprised me but I later learned that their land is not arable. The bus ride provided an example of how dirty the country is... a mother let her child just start pooping on the bus, and no there was not a toilet on the bus. I was appalled that a mother would one, let her child poop on the bus like nothing was wrong with doing so, and two, not even say anything to the bus driver to stop/have consideration for the other passengers! I was very glad to finally get to Bobo and check into the guesthouse, have dinner and go to bed.

The next morning we went to, or tried to, go to Immigration to get my temporary visa extended so we could stay in Burkina. Basically this is how we know they are stupid in the country - no one knew what Immigration was. Asante could no understand this and finally pulled out his passport and said immigration-passport-voyage(travel) WHERE! I tried not to laugh but ended up just choking on my spit. We finally found it but finished at about 12 so, yep, we had to just do nothing till 3 so we had lunch. Then since there were still about 2 hours to kill we walked around, saw the mosque (far left picture) and the train station (sepia picture).

Then spent the rest of the time till 5 trying to find the Musee Provincial du Houet where you could see the historical cultures of Burkina. Once we finally got there it was pretty cool, there was a gallery of different art by artists in Burkina showing the morals/ideals/stories of the culture through the cultural symbols. Also, outside were two examples of homes that different tribes lived in - this is what was the coolest part. We got to go inside and I think Asante took pictures of EVERYTHING inside but I will only include a few. After the museum it was about 6:30 so we walked around and eventually got dinner and sleep.

Next day we had to go sort bank crap out and it was so exhausting and literally everyday on the trip something happened, it was as if something was trying to prevent us from continuing our (even starting) our trip. So I said you know lets go back to Ghana enough is enough. We then headed back to Ghana. I didn't realize till I left how much I will miss everyone I have met and the country in general, it has truly become my second home. I have a Ghanaian family, Stanko, Salome and Papanii as well as Asante's family (if I list everyone I will be typing till Tishabov!) But that is basically Burkina. We didn't get to see a lot but it was just a good experience to see another country.


  1. Not sure which posting I like better...the elephant and the alligator or the picture of the rooster on top of the roundabout! Seriously though,it is all so amazing. Thank you for sharing your trip and making it real for those of us who love you. So cool.

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