No, I am not referring to America’s premier black president, nor the symbol of ‘hope’ or ‘change’, but in fact, this is the name of Ouagadougou’s favourite motorbike. A black (naturally), 50cc mean machine. Now, in a city, where ‘le mobylette’ is king, this is no mean feat. You honestly cannot comprehend the number on the orange dusty streets, particularly first thing in the morning and during home time around 7 at night. Around 8am, Antoine (friend and colleague from work) picks me up on his motorbike (I joke with him that in our case it’s a push bike with a motor attached). The journey is not long but if the cartoon, ‘Wacky Races” was going to be made into a Hollywood smash hit then I’d look no further than Ouaga. The sheer number of bikes also makes the air thick with soot and ash so if you want to stop climate change Barack, nevermind getting a bike named after yourself, I’d start here mate.
Talking of bikes, I’ve just been to my first, and most probably, only Burkina Faso wedding (friend of Antoine’s – no, I don’t just go to random weddings for kicks!). The wedding itself was all pretty standard but after the ‘I dos’, everyone got onboard a bike and we all made way for more ceremony and food in a huge convoy, travelling purposely slowly and subsequently, causing gridlock throughout the city centre. Anyone up for this on the M25 at the next wedding?
Meanwhile, back at ‘les Hotel des Conference’, we have 32 ‘couples’ who have requested double rooms (i.e. two couples to a room) away from any other guests, according to the hotel marketing manager. The swingers are in town baby!
Picture: 'The mean machine'. Antoine or the bike?