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I pack my trunk, embrace my friends, embark on the sea and at last wake up in Naples, and there beside me is the stern fact, the sad self, unrelenting, identical, that I fled from. - Ralph Waldo Emerson

10 October 2019, Tamale, GHANA to Tiebele, BURKINA FASO
Auberge Kunkolo 5,000XOF (R125)  


We were dropped by our taxi, which we had picked up on the Burkina Faso side of the border, outside the Kunkolo auberge, to find they had only two cokes available to drink, there being too few tourists at the moment to cater fully. Pierre, the caretaker and our host, told Charl he could get beers across the road, but both visits to the bar there found it closed. On our second visit, a young man named Frank, sitting outside the bar, offered to cycle to the marché to buy us drinks. We gave him some cash and later he delivered to the hotel two cold beers and two cold softdrinks. He did not seem to expect any payment for this service, but we paid him nonetheless.
The auberge is a charming backpackers, modeled on Tiebele’s painted houses. They last had a guest in August and before that in June. Pierre’s wife prepared a simple spaghetti and spicy tomato sauce dinner, adequate for our needs. In the common room, an open lapa, is a 3D erectile dysfunction poster.
Getting here was half the fun, as is always the case with public transport in third world countries. We left our bikes and most of our luggage in storage at the Clinton, walked down the dirt road, and at tarred Target Road picked up a yellow-yellow (tuk-tuk) for the 4km ride to the STC bus station. There we bought mini-bus (tro-tro) tickets to Bolga (19 cedi each). While we waited for the bus to fill, which it must do before departing, we shopped for deep-fried fat cakes, which we ate with relish for breakfast. Twenty-three people packed into the bus. As the space between the edge of each row of seats and the backs of the row in front of it was tiny, Charl was particularly uncomfortable, having to sit first with one butt-cheek on the seat, knees forced together this side, then the other, knees forced together that. In Bolga, we took a share taxi to the border. When we mentioned we were on our way to Pô, about 15km into Burkina Faso, the driver said he would take us there for twice the price of dropping us at the border. We agreed to pay him what he asked, ignoring a faint niggle when he then said he would take us to Pô station, which turned out to be just the other side of the border boom and not Pô proper. He did not make too much of a fuss when we refused then to pay him in full … an acknowledgement, I guess, of having tricked us. Then a taxi (expensive) to the auberge in Tiebele.
On today’s route, we passed, as usual, through one ugly town and village after another. Half-built structures, and badly-built structures, and derelict structures, and mud and dirt. But also passed a thousand small businesses, people trading and making a living as best they can, offering their services. At a guess, at least 75% of Africa is self-employed, enterprising and hard-working…

Leaving Tamale
Leaving Tamale
Leaving Tamale
Leaving Tamale
Leaving Tamale
Leaving Tamale
Auberge Kunkolo, Tiébélé
Auberge Kunkolo, Tiébélé
Auberge Kunkolo, Tiébélé
Auberge Kunkolo, Tiébélé
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