Friday, March 21, 2008

My amazing trip to Mali: Part duex

I've been in Bamako, Mali for a few days now and rather than chronicling everything that has happened to me, as much as I know you'd like to read every detail, I've decided to hit the major points.

- The evil taxi driver was waiting for me outside my hotel even though I left an hour earlier than I had told him. I basically told him to bugger off when he approached me to offer to take me to the airport for only "5,000 CFA's". I jumped in another cab and made a quick get-a-way and hope not to see him when I pass back through on my home.

- I am an IDIOT! I realized after I found out that I left my journal and a couple hundred dollars on the airplane! Doh! I've decided not to dwell and my amazing parents have hooked me up with a bit of a loan so that I can still go up to Timbuktu. Thanks mom and dad!

- I hung out at the American International School of Bamako and had a really good time seeing friends that I met in Ghana last October, seeing the middle school students do amazing monologues, and jotting down lots of ideas to take back to the American International School of Freetown.

- Last night some friends whom I'm staying with took me out with them to dinner and to hear a band play. The food was good although when you see Tortillas Espania on a French menu, it doesn't have anything to do with flat bread, onions, tomatoes, and meat; but rather an omelet with potatoes. The band was great too. There was this little kid, couldn't have been more than eleven, that was KILLIN' the drums. I was inspired and whispered to my friend that this is one of those moments that could easily become a regret later. I wanted to play with the band. And so I walked up, sat beside the guy playing the congos, he looked at me, he got up without a word as the song played and I sat in, jamming with the band in front of the 20 some-odd people who were there to listen. It was AWESOME! I had a really good time. Still need a bit of practice but didn't make an utter fool of myself. I'll be posting pictures from the trip later this week and this will definitely be a bloggable picture.

- This morning Joost, the guy I'm staying with, and I went on a tour of Bamako. We went and got the money my parents hooked me up with so I could buy my airplane ticket to TIMBUKTU, then went to the markets where some guy wanted to sell me a bar of gold. After which we went hiking through this grass plainsland down to a river. It was beautiful. After which we had lunch at this Italian place with some of the best Spaghetti Cabanara that I've had in I don't know how long.
Which brings us to now, when I'll tell what I'm hoping will happen over the next week rather than telling what has already happened. That way when nothing goes according to plan later I'll be able to say that at least my psuedo plan sounded good.

- In a few minutes we're going on a boat ride around the rivers of Bamako.
- Tonight the circus is in town and we're definitely hitting that up.
- Tomorrow morning at 7 we fly off to Timbuktu, where we will get our passports stamped, to prove to all you doubters, go on a tour of Timbuktu, ride camels into the dessert, eat lamb while watching the sun set, wake up to the sunrise, ride back to Timbuktu where my friends will get on a plane to Mopti while I get on a boat on Monday morning that will take me down the Niger river to Mopti. I'll jump on a motorbike to go to Dogon country, hang out there for a couple days, and head back to Bamako next weekend.

So, that's the plan. We'll see how that works out. My motto this week is Hakunna Matata, so even when things don't quite go according to plan I will live a worry free life.

I hope...


Faye Yu said...

Glad the second half of the trip is going better. Can't wait to hear about it.

<---That Girl said...

Wow. I got tired just reading all that, though it sounded like loads of fun!
You remind me a lot of my globe trekking cousin. He was just over there in Timbuktu a few months ago, and then he was off somewhere else dancing with the Massai. He's a fireman and has lived in Kwajalein Atoll and currently Saudi Arabia, but has been all over the globe. He's always looking for something new & stimulating and his job (& bachelor status) affords him the luxury. What a great adventure you'll have to look back on. May your trip be blessed.

Jessica said...

K.......haven't read the whole thing yet, but I have a comment to make before I forget. Tortillas Espanolas are true Spanish food, and you should feel privileged you got some. I ate those ALL THE TIME when I was in Spaina nd miss them terribly because try as I may, I can never make them right.

Notice also that they're SPANISH tortillas - not Mexican. Two very different places, though many people (you're NOT the first, I guarantee) don't realize this.

Yummy stuff, and now you've given me a craving.

Jessica said...

You're so awesome, Justin. You're doing things other people only get to dream about. Enjoy it, and stay safe!