Wednesday, 20 December 2006

 

Early in the morning I say goodbye to my friends in the lodge and drive to the border town of Sikasso.

I spendthe night in a simple hotel and will crossthe border to Burkina Faso tomorrow.

 

 

Thursday, 21 December 2006

 

I reach the Malian border post and sort out the formalities.

Everything goes fast and smoothly, just as the entry to Burkina Faso.

Only the customs officer asks me whether I would like to sell him my motorcycle. Whereupon I answer that I still need the bike to go to South Africaand that my temporary import papers he issued to me, forbid selling the bike in Burkina Faso.

Kind of not expecting that answer he shakes my hand and wishes me a save journey.

Burkina Faso welcomes me with the typical landscape of the southern Sahel. The bush land stretches itself to the horizon and the temperatures let one easily guess to be in Africa now.

 

 

Around noon I reach the town of Bobo Dilasso and treat myself to a cold bottle of Coke at the gas station. I am immediately surrounded by street children and all want to touch me or the motorbike. In order to be able to drink my Coke in peace I buya bag of peanuts and ask the service man to give it to the children.

 

 

 

In the afternoon I still drive the nearly 400 kms from Bobo Dilasso to Ouagadougou.

The landscape is beautiful and the road leads through the bush.

 

 

Every time I stop for a brief rest I get company immediately. Somebody is always interested in the strange white man, who stops and takes pictures in the middle of the road.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What I notice is that the heavy manual work is nearly only performed by women and children. The young men surround me enthusiastically when I stop in the villages but I hardly ever see them working.

 

According to my plan I reach Ouagadougou, the capital of Burkina Faso in the evening.

Here things go differently than expected. Normally there is a set of police controls before each city that would at least say hello to a tourist on a motorbike.

However, these posts are all abandoned. 

Further on there is nearly no traffic on the road and the center of Ouagadougou is deserted.

Normally this is impossible for an African capital. The whole thing looks so strange to me that I stop my bike and push it into a dark drive way to observe the silence.

Suddenly a military convoy with well 50 vehicles passes the road. The men that I can see are armed and the speed the vehicles go by, does not indicate a friendly movement.

Additionally the capital is constantly flown over by aircrafts. Also that is not usual, if everything is calm. And which Air Force and army is around? Their own? That does not make sense.

Something must have happened and I donít understand.

I switch my light off and drive on the empty roads until I find a hotel.

As I arrive there the owner doesnít trust his eyes. He tells me that a state of emergency was actually imposed and a curfew is on.

As I want to know what actually happened, he apparently does not know exactly. He says, the military fights against the police!

Without another option I decide to spend the night in the hotel and hope that I can leave the city as well as the country the next day.

In the night I hear some explosions in the city and donít really sleep.

 

 

 

Friday, 22 December 2006

 

I leave the hotel at the break of dawn and see people on the roads again. My plan is to exit the city with the early traffic and then drive to the border as fast as possible.

I stop at a gas station and try to find out about the situation. Again people tell me that there are fights between the military and the police. Nobody seems to know.

If thatís right what they say it could mean that a civil war is about to break out or has already broken out. Burkina Faso is actually a politically calm country but that has little to say. The president is also the general of the armed forces and in Africa conflicts easily develop from one day to the other. I do not feel the desire to be in the middle of it.

In the relatively dense morning traffic I pass the city exit between some large trucks. I cannot see police anywhere and Iím concerned again. How safe is the country whenpeople know that no police is there.

Political conflicts bring up a whole bunch of problems, which can be far riskier for a traveler than the actual problem itself.

After three hours I reach the border without problems and Iím very happy as the Togoleese border guard provides me with the entry stamp