Friday, 27 August 2010

"Tu es anglais?"

I think I look and sound quintessentially English. I have pasty white skin, which, when exposed to the sun for about 5 minutes, turns bright pink. I have ginger hair – a prerequisite for most Scots and Irish but reserved for those few lucky Englishman. And I speak French as if I was saying, “alright mate, hows it goin?”, down the pub.

So, stood outside my favourite restaurant in Bobo Dioulasso, Dankan (not least for the free Wifi but they also do a mean ‘Riz et sauce’), I’m approached by two young lads. In the knowledge they will be trying to sell me something, I prepare my best and fastest English speak, a tactic I use to get rid of people quite quickly (my French also does this anyway so I don’t know why I bother). They are ‘artisans’ looking to sell their latest ‘African’ t-shirts. Not interested. Anyway, they ask whether I am ‘francais’, “No”, I reply. “Belge”, “No”. “Swiss”, “No”. “Canadienne”, “No”. Ok, so we’ve been through all the Francophones. “Allemagne”, “No”. “Italien”, “No”. Ok, we’ve removed the other obvious European countries. Looking increasingly frustrated, one of them asks, “Grec”. Greece? Come on mate, try harder. And I am not kidding, his next question........“Chinoise”. Sometimes I despair.

As you can see, it is the little things in Burkina Faso which tickle me most, none more so than this warning sign.

What I would give to attach this to the front of my house
PS –can those of you with a decent grasp of French not be too harsh on the spellings of the countries above. They’re better than the guy’s grasp of my nationality.

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