Back in Bamako, Mali….

After Pays Dogon, I managed to get back to Bamako in reasonably good shape. I stayed a couple of nights at the marvelous Hotel Djenné, created by the former minister of tourism who had a great idea when she invited artists to decorate the place. On the bus ride there, I met a Dutch woman and her French traveling companion who was working on developing schools for young women in Mali. I met some other travelers over breakfast. O, and the first evening, I went to pick up the package I had left at Hotel Yamey and to try to visit Damien, the French guy working at his father’s restaurant, the Café du Fleuve. Unfortunately, he wasn’t around so I returned to the northern side of town to eat at the Restaurant San Toro, also owned by the former minister of tourism.

As a single person, I felt very conspicuous when I entered the restaurant, especially when they had no place for me, but after awhile of sitting and listening to a man playing the kora, I got into the spirit of the place and they eventually served me delicious juices and a vegetarian platter. I was craving good food after weeks in the “brousse? (countryside). Better nourished, and after a walk and a stop at the somewhat seedy cafe where I saw a transvestite, I returned to the hotel and slept well. I had tried to treat Samuel Sidibe and a professor friend of his to lunch, but he was busy, so I just stopped by to pick up the conference proceedings he had obtained for me. They included a griot’s account of the history of the Mali Empire, a crucial contribution to my book.

Monument to Palestinian Children, Bamako, Mali

I spent the rest of the day trying to get a flight in January from Timbuktu to Bamako and managed only to confirm my place on the waiting list. That evening I again tried meeting Damien at the Cafe du Fleuve and instead ended up sharing a delicious meal with a Dutch fellow Michiel and a female friend of his, also Dutch, Lisa Winnen. They were very kind of me and my spirits revived considerably in preparation for my trip to Accra.

Bamako, Mali

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