This morning at 8am we left our hotel at Niorida and made an early trip back to Ouagadougou by first stopping at Laongo Granite Park.
Here, over 2000 sculptures carved into stone greet visitors, while also expressing the history, culture, spiritual practices and basic raw creativity of local Burkinabe and international artists.
After nearly an hour here being baked in the sun, we then returned again to Ouagadougou in the early afternoon.
Luckily we had earlier fit in a visit to the statue of Thomas Sankara yesterday before heading to Tiébélé, where we learned about Sankara’s role as ‘Africa’s Che Guevara’, a socialist revolutionary who continues to enjoy immense popularity among the Burkinabe population.
So with extra time from not having to visit the memorial again, we returned to the capital city for a direct beeline to the National Museum of Burkina Faso, an open-air oven that features examples of the different types houses of each predominant group of people that lived and continue to live in this country.
Next stop, we had to take a look at Ouaga 2000 – the futuristic city project where the Monument to National Heroes and the Monument to the Martyrs are located.
If you’ve visited North Korea, you’d feel that these monuments could fit right into Pyongyang.
People seem to love taking my photo in this country.
We then drove to the roundabout of the Second of October which commemorates the day Sankara announced the Burkinabe revolution, and then briefly stopped at the local railway station — a source of pride from Sankara’s revolution where the Burkinabe people built the rail with their own hands and without foreign aid.
Unable to stop at both due to traffic and security, we instead squeezed in last minute souvenir shopping at the local bronze workshops.
We then returned back to Hotel Lwili, where our group freshened up for 2 hours and had a final dinner together.
Then once 8:15pm hit I set out and said my goodbyes to the group — especially my new travel kindred spirit Paris (who might join us in South Korea!) — and drove 10 minutes over for my 11pm direct one hour Turkish Airlines TK533 flight from OUA to FNA of Freetown, Sierra Leone.
I maybe should have stayed behind with the group for another few hours…after all my travels this is the very first time where I’m the only passenger in the airport, let alone on this flight.
As I’m writing this right now, so far I’ve waited for 2 hours alone in the arrivals hall before check-in finally opened.
Even though I had arrived at the airport at 8:30pm, check-in didn’t open until 10pm, an hour before my flight’s scheduled departure. That’s a first for me. I guess that makes sense since the flight itself didn’t even land to pick me up until 11:10pm.
On the bright side, the airport lounge upstairs is pretty comfy for 10,000 CFA per person entry.
A little more bizarrely, just as I was settling in this lounge an airport security officer peeked his head inside and asked me to bring my bags and come downstairs with him. Back downstairs in an empty departures hall, I chatted with his superior who then asked if he could delete the photos on my phone that I took inside the airport during my 2-3 hour wait alone. Then they said I could take photos only if I had official preauthorization. I said thanks and apologized, before heading back upstairs to the lounge with my bags where I recovered back the photos thanks to “Recently Deleted” on the iPhone.
Then as I relaxed in the lounge, at 11:50pm another airport staff member peeked his head into the lounge asking me if I was indeed the “only passenger on flight TK533.” I replied that I guess I was, and he asked me to join him downstairs for another round of security checks. However, this time it was manual with gloved hands combing through all the nooks and crannies of my bags as other staff members checked my passports and tickets. I actually appreciated the thoroughness here!
After 10 minutes of this, I was then asked to sit in the area by the gate intended for my flight, which meant having a whole 50 rows of chairs to myself compared to the 10 rows right next to me crowded with folks who were waiting for the 2am Royal Air Maroc flight.
People on that flight even came over and asked how I got this sweet setup and I replied: “by being the only person on my flight?”
My flight to Freetown was so delayed that right before boarding the empty bus to my flight, I even briefly reunited with Tommy and Paris who had left for the airport 3 hours after I did. Let’s just say this bizarre story will continue as I didn’t arrive to my hotel in Freetown until 6:30am for a 9am tour with Visit Sierra Leone.
I want to cry from lack of sleep but I have no energy to.
- At time of posting in Ouagadougou, it was 28 °C - Humidity: 13% | Wind Speed: 8km/hr | Cloud Cover: sunny