A Walk In The Woods

Not quite as long as Bill Bryson’s, but somewhat fatiguing anyway.

This morning, it was bright and cheerful and pretty non-humid, so I decided that a good long walk was in order. I haven’t been getting much exercise, undermining my campaign to lose some weight, and Mme Bousso seems to be convinced that a big guy like me needs a lot to eat, so the quantities of food she brings are immense. So, having noticed a big urban park north of my house, I set off about 9:00 a.m., carrying my shoulder bag with two bottles of water and my copy of Jared Diamond.

It is about 2.5 km from my house to the entrance to the park. Took me about 45 minutes of not-t00-strenuous walking. Crossing the big street (the Avenue Charles de Gaulle) was a little nerve-wracking, as there is a spirit of anarchism here on the roads that means even if you have the light you need to be super-careful. But anyway, I made it one piece. North of the Avenue CdG, there is a neighborhood with lots of nice buildings including this mosque, peeking up over the surrounding buildings:

Mosquee du quartier

I guess before the official neighborhood moved off to Ouaga 2000 south of town, this is where the embassies and suchlike were. I did see the very architecturally dramatic Moroccan Embassy on the way back, but the guardien out front said pictures were forbidden (I always ask first, good habit to get into).

When I got to the park, there was an admission fee of 100 francs, about $0.20, which I was happy to pay. You are paying for something, because the park is very well-maintained. All the trails were clear and at least somewhat graveled, and I passed two groups of maintenance guys working on planting trees and clearing a downed tree, respectively. The little stream that runs through the park has overflowed its banks, so I couldn’t get to the northern 2/3 of the park.

swamp

(You can just make out the bridge to the right center rising up out of the flood water). Nonetheless, I walked for about an hour in the park, then sat reading my book for another half hour or so. The park measures about 3.5 by 2 km, so there is plenty more for me to do.

There was a very nice little bit of artwork near the entrance:

emprunte de nos enfants

The plaque says “nature is not inherited from our parents but borrowed from our children”, to which I replied hurrah.

On the way out of the park, I saw this sign

take care of your park

which says “use the forest correctly, it is your patrimony.” There were also trash cans, a real rarity for any developing country I’ve visited, and a sign pointing to latrines though I didn’t actually see any latrines.

On the way back, it being about noon, it got seriously toasty. I brought two bottles of water with me, and I drank them both and still felt somewhat dehydrated at the end. As soon as I arrived in the house, I drank about half a bottle of chilled water from the fridge, took a cold shower, and lay down in my air-conditioned bedroom for half an hour. Hopefully, with the passage of time, I will become habituated and this won’t be so draining. Especially since it is still the rainy season and it is going to be at least 8 or 10 degrees celsius warmer during the long dry season in April and May. I walked considerably farther than the trip to the university, though, so this is a good sign.

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One thought on “A Walk In The Woods

  1. This would be a good contribution to the Greenbelt paper–or the Greenbelt park. A little Greenbelt-like slice of life far away! I hope you save all these!

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