I'm back in sunny Bamako after my little excursion to Timbuktu, Mopti and Djenne. It has been a lot of fun.
Mopti is a nice little town, really only a stopping off point for me on the way though. I met these two American Peace Corps girls there who had just finished working in Niger and we travelled up south together. I have even brought myself a Tuareg headscarf to keep the dust off (and well I guess cause I think they look cool but have my doubts about wearing one anywhere else!).
Timbuktu is a real desert town with most of the house made out of mud. There are still salt slabs in the markets. On the way into town there are rows of eucalyptus trees so in a strange way it also reminded me a bit of home. I went on a camel trip into the desert and am pleased to say that I have finally conquered my childhood fear of camels*. It was a nice way to see a bit of the countryside and when I got off I even found myself giving the creature a fond pat! Result. The stars out here were wonderfully bright and the nomads seem to have a hard but wonderful life.
Djenne has one of the largest mud brick buildings in the world (a mosque naturally enough) so went along on market day to have a look and it was amazing. The markets were pretty good as well.
It is just incredible to see how other people live and how different things can be. I have seen a guy dressed all in white with a sword around his waist walking the streets, African women dancing full of joy, camels being ridden by men in blue .....
Tomorrow I am going to try and get a bus to Nara and from there over the border into Mauritania. Insh Allah.
ros from URL @ 9:15 pm