The nurse who works in Ouaga also owns a fabulous hotel. We just got back from dinner there. She is married to a Burkinabé, that's what they call people from Burkina, I just love that: Bukinabé. Paulina's husband's family is from Belgium. He's lived here all his life, his parents, now passed, ran this hotel, where grew up, Hotel Richard. Paulina herself is from Chile: Chileanebé! She is a nurse at the embassy by day then comes home to nine dogs and this big old hotel inherited from her in-laws. The place is dreamy, a huge swimming pool, plus lion, ten kinds of antelope, red buffalo, and a wildlife park-full of other animal trophies hanging on the walls, african art everywhere, white table cloths and uniformed waiters serving you dinner, with two kinds of wine and a cheese course, then killing you with strawberry mousse or creme caramel for dessert.
We really want to see elephants while living in west Africa, and many people drive for hours to the wildlife parks, camp for days and never see them, elepant hide nor elephant hair. I thought: here is the guy to ask! Here is the guy who will save me from a safari where we only see guinea fowl, which I saw from the road on the way from Niger. "Oh, yes," he says, "the best time see elephants is now, fevrier, mars. I saw more than 100 when I was out today at Parc Something Somthing." My jaw: still on the floor.
Then, somehow, Richard started talking to me about the Cathars and the history of the holy grail and Mary Magdelene, and this conversation was waaaaaaaay beyond my DaVinci Code level of expertise and/or my level of French. I had to make him say the word "parchment," which should have been a give-away, three times.
Oy, it was a good time. That co-worker of Peter's, she knows how to throw a party. And now you know the good time of year to see the elephants in west Africa.