Thursday, July 22, 2010

Trip to Koudougou - Part 3

We arrived at the Hotel Photoluxe in Koudougou at about 10:30 in the morning. Aristide told me that it was built by his grandfather in the 1940s. The two-storey hotel had 20 or so rooms, along with a restaurant and an outdoor eating area. Our room was on the back side farthest away from the rest of the complex, which included a laundry area, a several single storey buildings with more rooms, a building housing a couple of conference rooms, and a nightclub. By our standards, the room was pretty basic. A double bed, a single bed, a desk, and a big armoire took up most of the floor space. We also had satellite TV, but the signal kept cutting in and out, so it was rather frustrating trying to watch anything. However, the best feature was an air conditioner that worked really well. Heat was not going to be a problem here.

The bathroom featured black tiles on the walls, a sink, a shower, a toilet (without seat or cover), and a bidet (which no longer worked). The water pressure appeared to be pretty low. Washing your hands or face required a measure of patience. And the toilet required at least 20 minutes between flushes. Given all this, we had real concerns about the shower. But to our great surprise and relief, it worked just fine! Plenty of water pressure there! Go figure.

There were stairs leading to what appeared to be a third floor. But when I climbed them, they led out onto the roof. From there, I had a wonderful view of the surrounding area, and the solar water heaters they had installed for the hotel complex. Pipes ran haphazardly all over the place, but hey, who cares, right? It is, after all, the roof, not a dance floor!

Aristide gave us registration forms to fill out. Some of the questions requested date of birth and the names of mother and father. This is information Burkinab√® are used to giving for various things, but I did not feel comfortable writing down. However, when I went to hand the form in, the receptionist insisted that I fill this in. So I felt compelled to engage in little literacy creativity to protect the identities of the innocent… :)

After we got ourselves settled in, Aristide took me on a tour of the compound. One of the things I noticed was what appeared to be a former swimming pool. I asked him about it and he confirmed that there had indeed been a pool at the back of the hotel. However, one day a man had jumped off the diving board and struck his head on the edge of the pool. Following his death, no one would swim there anymore and the owner eventually filled it in with dirt.

Lunch was served in the open courtyard in front of the hotel. Since it had rained recently and was a relatively cloudy day, the temperature outside was already fairly comfortable for this time of the year. Mango trees provided additional shade and freshness. As promised, the kitchen had indeed prepared the chickens for us, along with ample bowls of rice and sauce, and trays of French fries. I’m afraid that my eyes were bigger than my stomach and I ended up eating far too much for the amount of work I had done so far that day!

In light of a night that had been far too short, and a stomach that was far too full, the after-lunch siesta time was a very welcome relief indeed.


Laura Dun said...

I'm impressed with the solar heating!

Mike Steinborn said...

Yes, I showed the picture to Adama too in case he wanted to consider it an option for our housing units :P