Temporarily misplaced

After yet another uneventful bus journey we arrived in Banfora in the far west of Burkina Faso. We’d decided we were going to hang out here for a few days, hire a motorbike and have a potter about on that. Having struck up a deal the night before with the local Del boy and Rodney, we were now the proud owner of a little 125cc KTM scooter.

We woke up early this morning had a lovely continental breakfast laid on by the folk at Oasis guesthouse and then hit the road. I had gotten used to driving like a lunatic and avoiding other motorists, people and anything else that happened to jump out in front of me, so as we drove out of Banfora I was feeling confident. We’d been going a few miles when we hit  a small junction, we were heading to Sindou, there was a 50/50 choice, Gen said she thought left, I agreed and so we headed left. We’d done about 50 km and were in the middle of nowhere when the steering went all stiff and I looked down and noticed we had a puncture. We pulled over onto the side of the road and spoke to a lady in a shack who explained that the nearest garage was about 3km away… We had no choice but to ride the 3km, it was the longest 3km I’ve ever driven and it was a real pig to ride, especially with two of us on, but we made it eventually. We arrived in the garage which was more like a small shelter with a few tools and a bench, there did appear to be a mechanic however. The young lad looked rather surprised to see these two white folk in the middle of rural Burkina Faso on a broken scooter, I can only imagine his dinner table conversation that evening “hey mum, you’ll never guess what I saw today…”. He got on with fixing the bike and ten minutes later we’d paid the princely sum of 25p and set off again.

We’d done a total of about 75km when we noticed there looked to be a barrier in the middle of the road, we’d only gone and driven to the bloody Ivory Coast Border, we were nowhere near Sindou, in fact we’d gone in completely the wrong direction! After a lot of laughing and some suspicious looks as we turned straight around at the border and headed back the way we had come passing our mechanic and giving him a wave as he waved back looking even more bemused. We made it back to Banfora and decided that seeing as how we’d screwed that up we’d head out to the Karfiguela Falls which we knew were near to Banfora. Turned out that the road to the falls was really bumpy and full of puddles but we made it to the falls eventually, although our bike had conked out a few times, we’d managed to get it going each time though so we weren’t worried. We hiked to the falls and had a look around, we just sat down to enjoy a bit of a swim when the heavens opened and it rained like you’ve never seen rain before.

We ran back to our bike and tried to get it started but it wouldn’t go, the lads who ran the ‘pay and display’ car park tried and they couldn’t get it going either, even the Indian guys who were in Banfora on some form of religious exchange tried but it wasn’t for starting. In the end the Indian guys and I lifted the bike into the back of their 4×4 and jumped in with it and headed back down the bumpy track to Banfora. This was just typical, it was just like that bloody Mototaxi I’d had, I must be cursed!

Once we made it back to Banfora, I called Del Boy and Rodney and told them they’d sold me a donkey and credit where credit is due they turned up with a new one for me and wished us more success for the following day. We gave it up as a bad job that day and headed out for some dinner in hope that tomorrow we would a) have a bike that worked and b) go the right direction!

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