Saturday, August 23, 2008

Diary

20th August 2008 – 0600hrs

Leave Colombo for Dubai. I have an eighteen hour lay over and some possibility of getting out of the airport. If not, it’s going to be a wait – thank god there is wifi!

Well, it worked out and I am out of the airport and in the city. Right now I’m sprawled on the bed playing with my new toy – a Canon S5 IS, my replacement for the S1 I had.

I need to head back to the airport in a few hours, taking off to Accra

21st August 2008 – 0500hrs

Well, alls worked out so well, and I am now waiting for my flight to Accra. An on line chat with a dear friend has lifted my spirits to some extent.

This is going to be interesting and I will find out if I made a good decision or not. A dearth of seats to Burkina Faso for the next three days threatens to upset my schedule. Within hours of landing having secured my visa for BF this is an unexpected setback. The alternate is a domestic flight to Tamale, a city in the North Eastern part of Ghana and then to travel by road to Ouagadougou – a road trip of three hours I’m told. We shall see what happens

22nd August 2008 – 0500hrs

I’ve been up since 3am, tired, not much sleep last night, not much sleep since the 19th! At Accra’s domestic terminal, waiting my flight. I’m annoyed that my new piece of fancy luggage arrived from Dubai broke. A heavy investment made on the assumption that it would be hardy enough to bear the journey shattered…. I hate not getting my moneys worth!

1500hrs and I am tired, annoyed and angry. I’ve finally reached my destination, Ouagadougou in Burkina Faso and it has been a trip

Due to a lack of seats I was forced to look at alternatives if I was to stick with my schedule.

A 6am departure was delayed for an hour due to bad weather at destination. Eventually landing in Tamale, Northern Ghana at 8am I then hired a car to drive me three hours further to Paga and the border and from there another two hour journey to Ouaga.

It’s the rainy season here in Africa and during the entire journey we were lashed with rain as we traveled further north. The moisture has given a lush green look to the region, different to the usually dusty dry landscape I have seen during my previous trips. My biggest fear at this time is the competency of my driver and the road worthiness of my chariot. I have taken the precaution of inspecting the tires!

This was my first real experience of corruption at the lower levels of administration – and that it was by the BF border guards rather than the Ghanaian ones interesting. I was met by “Transport Manager” an English speaking gentlemen who ushered me into a vehicle saying that the charge was CEF 4000/ - about US$ 11/- from the border to Ouaga. Too good to be true I thought settling myself in the car. Then came the rider – that we need wait for another nine people to join us, if they ever did. OR, I could pay CEF 35,000/- and be on my way! Faced with the possibility of spending the night in the rain, I eventually agreed, then to see 5000 of the 35,000 handed over to the TM as his commission.

It’s been three days since I’ve left Colombo. Sleep has been elusive, a combination of jet lag, early morning flight schedules and a restless mind, I am awfully tired.

Ouaga eventually at 3 something in the afternoon. Nine hours in all! The hotel is adequate, central and in close proximity to a high speed internet café. Checked in, a long needed soak in a tub full of hot water and I crawled into bed at 1630, planning on a couple of hours sleep before looking for something to eat.

Just as I dosed off, an amazing experience, the sensation of not being alone... I'll leave it at that, for it was an exquisitely intimate moment to savour.

I did wake up, turned over and slept again, eventually coming wide awake at 2am, which is about 730 in Colombo.

Unable to fall asleep again, I’ve sorted my accounts out, re packed my bags, thrown my laundry out, edited my photographs and typing this before taking another snooze. I think I’ll post this today, carry on later.

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