“Us Africans have a problem....” The man dribbles down his stripped shirt and straightens the belt on his bulging kacki pants. His muscular hand firmly clenches his Mosi brand beer as his reddened eye balls gaze with affection at my sunburned peeling bare arms. Oh, this aught to be good I chuckle to myself and raise my eyes up past the cracked wooden stool and glare up at this flirtatious harmless buffoon. The only place in town with a fridge and cold soft drinks HAS to be a bar, I giggle and glance through the tattered azure floral print cloth. It is hanging over the shaded doorway. Pandemic The Magic Bicycle is waiting patiently in clear view outside under a orange tree in the midday humidity.
“Us Africans have a problem, we like your skin, I want to marry you.” Mr. Pants-A-Tingling (P.A.T) lovingly slurs again as the older protective gentleman behind the dusty gray wooden bar shifts his feet and curiously peers on. His reserved elderly pink lips seem ready to pounce on his drunken buddy if need be.
“I am sorry Sir, but I am not sure I want to do that” I politely smirk with as much soft sincerity as I can muster as the elderly gentleman barkeep laughs in support.
“Will you marry me....?” Mr P.A.T. continues on deeper into matrimonial hot pursuit, somersaulting over cumbersome formalities such as knowing my name.
“Casper, my husband wouldn't like that much” I grin as my pinocchio nose begins to grow and tall tales of Casper (the ghost), my fictitious husband begin to rise.
“Your children then, I will marry your children!” Mr. P.A.T stumbles forward and perseveres deeper into never never land. I am now chugging my cold coke-cola trying not to laugh, chock or spray soda out my nose.
“I will tell my unborn children all about you Mr. P.A.T., nice to have met you.” I sarcastically utter as I head for the door and hop on Pandemic for a quick get away. Minutes later while cycling, as the heavy stench of testosterone ricochets off my panniers, I realized how brilliant WOW (Women On Wheels) co-contributor HelenLloyd truly is. She counted the many marriage proposals while she cycle toured throughout western Africa. I'm definitely gonn'a need a calculator, I reason to myself as I carry on crossing from East into West Africa.