fauxklore (fauxklore) wrote,

Almost a Real Entry

No sooner did I post that last message than Air France ground staff went on strike. That resulted in my flight being delayed a couple of hours, but I am now home. And, somewhat surprisingly, my bag made it home.

I am thoroughly exhausted but I did want to summarize the trip. (And I really will catch up on travelogues this year. I promise.)

- Bamako is a typical African city. It's sprawling and chaotic and mostly a transit point.

- I've now been to Tmbuktu! What more is there to say? Seriously, the traditional architecture (mosques built of mud, elaborate doors) is very atmospheric and made more so by the brilliant indigo robes of the Tuareg men.

- The Festival au Desert had some great music (with a few big names, e.g. Khaira Arby, Vieux Farka Toure) but just being out there with all those Tuaregs and their camels was the real highlight. It was worth three nights with no running water. But I sure wished the hotel in Djenne the next night had had hot water.

- The Air France situation today reminded me somewhat of the camel races at the Festival. We kept asking when they were and getting different answers so we decided that they are "at 3 or at 4 or tomorrow."

- I can't be really fair to Mopti as I was exhausted and a bit sick by the time I got there. Djenne was a relief because it was the end of a long tedious day.

- The masked dance at Tereli was fascinating, but Dogon country is not really my sort of landscape. As someone who is terrified of heights, I am not sure why anyone would voluntarily live on a cliffside.

- Ouagadougou is comfortable and surprisingly modern.

- The highlight of Burkina Faso for me was the ruins of Loropeni. This is somewhat like Ta Prohm at Angkor, with tree roots growing around old stone walls. That's very much my type of place and what made it all the more fascinating was that I had never actually heard of it before going there.

- I could have enjoyed spending a few days in Bobo-Dioulasso, just hanging out and listening to djembe bands.

- Next time, I should really check my medical kit while packing. On roads like those in Mali, dramamine is a good idea.

- Apropos of nothing since all the places I stayed at were at least decent, but you should know you are asking for trouble if you are even tempted to stay at Hotel Pas de Problem. (The No Problem Hotel is alleged to be a particularly bad hotel in Mopti.)

- Finally, since there were donkey carts everywhere, I kept being reminded of this story. Nasruddin crossed the border every day with two donkeys and the border guard was sure he was smuggling something. For weeks, the guard checked the bags on the donkey and could find no contraband. Finally, he just gave up and asked Nasruddin who replied, "It is very simple. I am smuggling donkeys."

- And now I am going to enjoy a very hot shower and a comfortable mattress!
Tags: storytelling, travel

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