Trip Start Jun 19, 2009
Trip End Sep 02, 2009

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Where I stayed
Le Centre d'accueil des soeurs blanches!

Flag of Mali  ,
Sunday, June 21, 2009


I made it to Africa! Eventually... after leaving the house at 5 am to get the first flight to London... to find my flight was delayed until 3 pm! That wasn't too much of a problem, I love airports, and all the flights from Libya were waiting, apparently. In fact, the delays were caused by a sandstorm around Tripoli that morning!

I finally got to Mali around 11.30pm... and by the time I had found my bags and changed some euros (at rubbish rates...) and found a semi-official taxi and negotiated a rate and got to the mission catholique, it was around the nuns had all gone to bed. Luckily, semi-official taxi driver man was very persistent in his hammering on the door, and someone eventually appeared. She was not overly happy at being woken up, but she let me in and gave me a key and pointed me in the direction of the dorm, so it was ok.

There's only one other person in the dorm at the moment, a Dutch girl who's been in the North of the country for 3 months. She says it's 'quite cool' here. It's not. It's absolutey BOILING. Bamako is dirty and (EXTREMELY) dusty and smelly and hot and far too busy.. and I love it! I have to admit though that I think I was suffering a little bit of 'culture shock' yesterday (for possibly the first time, ever) when I turned onto a bigger street (the place i'm staying is in a wee side street) and was faced with what is essentially a dirt track with goats at random locations up the side. But it's so pretty with all the women walking around with their bright, colourful clothes and (quite often) balancing things on their heads!

Yesterday I went for a wander around the city and visited the (lovely, air-contioned!) museum, where the people at the door decided I should join a little conference that was going on concerning the future of the town of Djenné... so I sat in on that and understood very little! My spoken French is awful at the best of times but with African accents, it's a proper mission to understand (Yes, yes I am most definitely going to go to France with a crazy Scottish-African hybrid accent, after all)! So after going round the actual exhibitiony bit of the museum, I strolled until I was just a little bit lost (note - Rough Guide maps are useless. Take a Lonely Planet!) then got a taxi back to le centre d'accueil. I had some dinner in a little vegetarian cafe opposite (so much for having to eat meat...) and sat there for a while with the owner, his friends and a Bangladeshi man drinking shots of shockingly sweet 'African tea'.

Today so far I've been investigating one of the many markets, it was a lot less crowded than when I walked past yesterday, since it's Sunday, but it's still 'Madame! Madame! Bonjour madame!' constantly from ALL SIDES. Good fun though! I tend to stop to chat... now I am hiding from the sun for a little while before I go off and do some more exploring!

Well I think that's all for now, I'm not sure where I'm going after Bamako (I'm still undecided on whether or not I want to do a mini-trek in the Dogon country in the South...) but I think I'll stay here til Tuesday. One of the nuns was asking me if I'd come and speak English to her class (she's also a teacher) because she's been teaching them about the UK and how it's four different countries (hurrah!), so I will do that if I see her again!

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