I have finally gotten to Bamako - it has been a bit of a mission, and no that's not just where I'm staying.
Went out for dinner on Friday and once again despite my recent protestations got stoned and a bit tipsy - was going to go clubbing but was good and went home early well ish. Then it was off to the bus the next day.
I was a bit worried I was going to miss it cause I was running late luckily the bus was also late and didn't take off til 12. Then it was the long long journey. The bus broke down within 3 blocks. It was not a very good sign. We were assured the brakes were in fact working and set off again. It was hot, the roads were the worst I have ever seen, we had a few crashes, numerous stops to check the brakes, prayer time stops, police and customs stops ..... you name it and we stopped for it. As such instead of arriving at 4am it was instead 4pm.
The dust swirling around the bus had to be seen to be believed, you couldn't make out the people sitting up front and everyone was wearing guards over their mouths. The dirt was red and settled in such quanities on your bags, clothes and face that upon rising some would fall to the ground like a second skin. After 28 hours of this it was a relief to get off the bus. Unfortunately due to a deal with the local taxi drivers we couldn't be dropped at the train station, instead having to get off 15kms out of town and all share cabs to the station.
Bruno and Celine the French couple decided that they would break in Kaynes and I kept going with Abu, Bidassa and a few other guys I met on the bus. Then it was the crazy queue for the train tickets - it was pretty manic. Had a shower in a mud hut off the main street near the station, it just felt so good. The train was late (of course) and instead of leaving at 7.45pm ended up leaving at 11pm. In my guide it says a 10 hour journey but didn't get in today til 4.30pm.
I have been a bit naughty and have been drinking the local water but sometimes it is better than nothing. It is really the only thing you can buy off the villagers after everyone has run out. It is sold in plastic bags like sandwich bags I guess with a knot in the top. You bite off the side and suck like an ice-block. I have a bit of a rash but I'm hoping that is from the heat and not anything else!
I don't know where exactly I'm staying as the taxi from the station dropped me off at the wrong place (I think they are both missions though so it was an easy mistake to make - damn my French). It is an ok place whatever it is but am moving to the real Catholic Mission place tomorrow and then it is off once again on a visa hunt. I'm getting my Mauritanian visa here as it is just heaps cheaper.
Bamako is an ok town. Not all the streets are paved and as the open drains go down most streets it has a bit of a mosquito problem.
ros from URL @ 9:01 pm