Nov 01, 2011
Dec 19, 2012
Where I stayed
The Sleeping Camel
And it was worth it! Bamako is noisy, colourful and boldly disorganised. Markets are invading roads. Trading is everywhere, whatever the product is. Old motorbikes are zigzaging between African mamas, bunch of youngsters and a Belgian tourist. The slow and huge Niger river, backbone and heart of Mali does not seem to be affected by the hectic life taking place on its shores, even when the sun is setting and Bamako's legendary music scene is ready for another night.
I eventually made it to Bamako. I left Mbour at 00.30 on Thursday night and arrived at Bamako at 1.30 on Friday night. In 25 hours, you get to know your fellow passengers very well, in particular in a Malian bus company, which usually challenges physics principles when planning the number of available seats in there. It is a small wonder that we actually got to Bamako without breaking down even once. The sound of the engine was indeed raising serious concern all the way. I was kind of sitting on the engine, at the back of the bus, so I could assess whether the coughing, complaining, raging of the engine was evolving. One of my favourite moments took place at around 6.30am when we stopped, in the wild. Nothing there apart from a road heading east, a dry landscape and a rising sun. A few seconds later, there were at least 15 of the passengers praying on the road. The first prayer of the day. Just a surreal scene. Not so amusing was the crossing of the borders (Senegalese and Malian), which took all in all 4 hours. For two stamps and a random check of some of the luggages in our bus. But then, after three unofficial revenue collection police roadblocks, two goat bbq stops (delicious!) and a couple of further prayer stops, Bamako was finally within sight!