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Burkina Faso Chronicles Pt.2

And so we arrived! Finally after the longest flight plan ever devised by man we touched down in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso.  I stepped off of the plan and on to the cement…?...?...yes, cement, a new experience for me as I had never gotten off of a plane and stepped down onto the airport parking lot, for lack of better words. We all walked into the airport and were immediately shuffled off to a separate area; I guess it was obvious that we were not from there. The First thing they check is your Yellow Fever card… before they check your passport, Burkina Faso is a Yellow Fever area so if you don’t have it, you can’t stay. We all got through the process of getting out passports stamped, getting our Visa’s and eventually walking out of the airport. A little while later we arrived at the Azalai Hotel, one of the main tourist hotels in Ouagadougou, we checked in, dropped off our things and then went to dinner at Cappucino… the restaurant that would otherwise become known as… THE SPOT, we ate there or grabbed something to go from there literally almost every day for two weeks.

Tuesday morning came and I was up early… very early, like 5am in the morning early which is a time of morning that for a musician generally does not exists… especially after a late night show or extensive travel, but in the words of Lewis Carrol “ The Sun was shining on the Sea, Shinning with all it’s Might!”… well, there was no sea but in any event, the sun was up with a vengeance and therefore so was I. I walked over to the gym and it was closed, the hotel staff person told me that it didn’t open till nine am so I headed back to my room. On my way I heard people over on the tennis court so I went over to check it out and to my pleasant surprise there were tennis instructors willing to play matches, hit balls or teach lessons. I became quick friends with a tennis instructor named Albert who spoke Fluent French and just a little English at the time I spoke fluent English and absolutely no French so we were a match make in communication heaven. We found a way to communicate effectively after a few moments and thus began the best tennis lesson I’ve ever had… I really learned a lot… like for example that what I was doing before was completely wrong lol. At the end of the day I got an hour tennis lesson with a hitting partner and a ball boy for 6 thousand CFA which is roughly 10 or 11 american dollars…. Try getting that in America… not going to happen.

Eventually everyone was awake and LaSean Brown came to the Hotel to pick us up and take us to the Markets where I got my first taste of Burkinabe culture. People there have the perfect combination of friendliness and sales aggression and make you feel  like you are the only customer they will ever see in life… they are a culture of friendly go getters who set up shop anywhere, on grass, on dirt, on the side of the street and in back clay road alleys, side by side sometimes selling the exact same things as their neighbors. For the first time I got to really experience a “ Free Market” place… like we claim to have here in America.

That night we sat down at café Vienna and had dinner with LaSean Brown of the Embassy, His sister Kiah,  University of Greensboro Associate Professor and Full Bright Scholar Robin Gee and her sister Jean.  Robin is a Dancer and Choreographer and was interested in performing with the band at the U.S embassy, she had listened to the music and had narrowed everything down to a “short list”… of 11 out of the 15 songs I sent her…. Talk about complements J . I told her that she could dance to whichever on she wanted, just let us know, and we’ll have a rehearsal.  A great night of food and conversation ended with a plan to awake the next day and go see the Sacred Crocodiles…..   Yes… Crocodiles

 

To Be Continued!

 

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