Tuesday, October 27, 2009


Last night we planned a somewhat adventurous trip to Franceville (we're going away tomorrow!) and for today we scheduled Stage 1: Preparation. I was supposed to go to the city centre and get the train tickets. This implies:
1) getting a taxi to a place I'd never visited alone
2) finding the ticket office
3) speaking French to the ticket lady
4) getting back home.

Originally I thought of getting a taxi for myself and having it take me straight to my destination (1000 CFA) but in the end the explorer woke up in me and I took a shared taxi which left me in the right area (200 CFA). I managed to localise the boulangerie which kind of let me know where I was. And so I went up the street towards it. Things were going really well and I even planned to have some coffee after I got the tickets.

A young man approached me and wanted to give me a leaflet. I politely declined and went on. He followed me. "Why are you walking so fast, princess?", he asked in a low voice, nearly whispering. He followed me for a while but I managed to get rid of him when I got to a cafe full of people. He laughed (in a well-meaning manner, I must admit, he didn't really seem dangerous) and went away.

I sighed, relieved, only to realise that I had to go down that very street again - that was where the ticket office was. I hung by the cafe for a little while and, resigned to my fate, started walking straight to my destination. Another young man showed up, this one looking decidedly more shabby and missing a tooth. "Hello, princess", was his opening line and I made a fatal mistake of saying "I'm sorry, I don't speak French". He grabbed my arm and said he spoke English (suprisingly, this was true to a certain extent). He looked at me in a way no girl likes to be looked at and kept touching my arm, which I kept pulling back, walking really fast at the same time. "Give me...", he started and I very quickly said I wasn't going to give him anything. Suddenly the first guy appeared and, panic rising inside me, I realised there weren't many people around.

The first man, however, turned out to be quite decent, I suppose. He laughed and told the other one to leave me alone, but they both followed me right to the doorstep of the ticket office. They were laughing and saying things I didn't understand. I got scared. For some time they waited in front of the building.

Oh yes, I bought the tickets (picture) and everything ended well. I called Jandro to tell him what had happened (and above all because talking to him has a soothing effect) and he insisted on coming to get me. He drove me home.

When I was waiting for the lift, a handsome guy appeared. He was visiting someone in the building and told me I had a lovely shirt (I was wearing my African blouse). He got off on the second floor, held the door, told me I was beautiful and asked if he could see me again. I smiled, thanked, said I didn't think it was possible and he let go of the door. If it had happened any other day, I would've felt flattered and amused. Today, however, I just wanted to hide under the bed.


  1. Oh my, my... It's good it all ended well though. Big hug!

  2. :-( really it's no easy being a white beautiful woman in Africa, I suppose.
    Ánimos e abraços.

  3. thanks both of you :* I'm ok, just needed to tell the story, it helps. :)

  4. scary country for sure.
    take care.