Our ride from Koutiala to Burkina Faso’s second largest city, Bobo-Dioulasso, was largely without incident. Unless you count the time that our driver saw a police checkpoint, veered off the road to avoid it and then drove through the bushes for 20 minutes to get back to the road. Oh, and when he didn’t have enough warning to avoid the next stop and the police pulled us over and made all the people riding on the roof and hanging off the back (about six people) get off and walk. Luckily we had two of the 20 seats inside the 10-seater.
The most remarkable aspects of Bobo-Dioulasso? #1: We have rediscovered a world where bus companies have actual schedules, published fares and [gasp]
assigned seats; #2: Michele, the Corsican owner of Restaurant Les 2 Palmiers spent an evening chatting with us about doing business in Burkina Faso (can you imagine repeating instructions to your employees three times each morning and then still having to argue with them every evening??), treated us to free dessert and the worst alcoholic drink of my life (yes, I’m including college) because we reminded her of her two sons that are off traveling, and actually accepted our credit card. Do not underestimate how excited this last point makes us. Our ATM cards have not worked in about a month, we’ve changed all our US dollars into francs already and no one will change all the British Pounds African Trails told us to bring; and #3: Le Boulangerie Patisserie Le Bonne Miche has the best raisin rolls ever. It’s nice being back in a world of delicious French pastries.
Unfortunately, we got scammed out of 10,000 CFA (luckily only about $20) at Les Cocotiers Hotel. Who would have thought that the guy sitting in the security guard’s seat when we arrived, who then walked behind the front desk to check availability, chatted with someone to show us a room, and whom we ultimately gave our two nights’ worth of money to, didn’t actually work at the hotel. Not bad, scumbag, you had us going.