Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Kidneys & Rice

First of all may I wish my readers, clients, friends and colleagues a very merry Christmas and a happy, prosperous and travel filled new year.

Last week I posed the polite question "Where the !@#* is Ouagadougou?" Well, the answer is that it is the capital city of Burkina Faso - a fairly large land-locked country wedged between Ghana, Togo, Benin, Niger, Mali and Ivory Coast. It's former name was Upper Volta. When I visited Burkina Faso in 1985 it was officially the world's poorest country and the life expectancy was just twenty eight years. In other words if I were born there I could have expected to have died 24 years ago. Instead, I moved to Tamworth, New South Wales which amounts to the same thing. Just kidding.

Why was I in Burkina Faso? Good question. I was participating in a Guerba overland camping trip from Lome in Togo to Tunis and I have to say that Burkina Faso was not one of the highlights. On the whole it's a flat, scrubby region of the Sahel. It's hot as Hades. In May, the month in which I was there the noon temperature was around 46 degrees centigrade and being just before the wet season it was humid too. Great towering thunderheads would build up in the afternoon and dissipate frustratingly without releasing any of their cooling rain. Nothing grew but dust and camel thorns and the cattle were nothing but leather stretched over a few bones. The human population were faring little better. Only the goats seemed to be thriving.

So it was with enormous anticipation that we drove into Ouagadougou. We were to have lunch at a good hotel and would have access to their swimming pool. What utter bliss! Having had the most deliciously cool swim I settled down to enjoy my lunch. Unfortunately my brain must have been addled by the heat and I ordered kidney's and rice. I ask you! Kidneys and rice in 46 degrees centigrade! What was I thinking? Is that asking for trouble or what? I don't even like kidneys - never have. Needless to say I spent the next three days rushing into the scrub every hour clutching my stomach, a shovel and a rapidly diminishing toilet roll. That, my friends is my enduring memory of Ouagadougou.

On a far more pleasant note my colleague Rosemary has put together a brilliant, fully escorted tour of Kenya to celebrate her 50th birthday. The tour commences in Nairobi on 27 June 2011.

It is a lodge safari visiting Amboseli, Mount Kenya National Park, Samburu, Sweetwaters, Lake Nakuru and of course the amazing Maasai Mara. There is also a fascinating three night Zanzibar extension. The basic 11 night fully escorted tour costs $4150 per person twin share land only, $3995 triple share per person land only and the single supplement is $1150.

To register your interest in the above tour or to obtain further details please contact Rosemary at Ucango Travel on 07 5451 8600, or drop her an email rosemary.mcteigue@ucango.com.au

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