Saturday 30 July 2011

Bamako, Mali

First stop this morning was to acquire our visa extensions, so we wouldn’t be deported. Though the friendly airport officer told us immigration would be open today, the office was definitely not. Luckily, I had asked for the man’s number and he told us we could get them extended in Mopti, one of the legs of our trip.

LinkIf we were as well-dressed as this woman,
we wouldn't need to worry about being deported

Mali is one of the poorest countries in the world, but looking at Bamako’s infrastructure, one would never guess that. With a population of almost 2 million people, Bamako is regarded as the fastest growing city in Africa. Investment has poured into the city so much as that there are multi-lane and elevated highways! Crazy.

A highway! What?!

Being the shoppers that we are, we went straight to the Grand Marche and Artisanal. At the Artisanal de Sculptes, boutiques after boutiques of wonderful sculptures and artwork abound. There, I bought what later would become my favorite souvenir: a wooden pineapple (yes, I know that sounds like a lame souvenir, but I love it).

Adorable kid? Good photo? I think so.

He was so happy to make my drum. Great deal for 3.000CFA (~$6US)

I thought that this sweet woman in front of the Grande Mosquee was selling these bracelets at 500CFA ($1US). She was actually selling them for 50CFA ($.10US). We had to buy.

Looking ridiculous and the crowd that watched us look ridiculous

Unfortunately, rain came in the afternoon, so we weren’t able to make the afternoon trip to Sibi (maybe I have a reason to go back to Mali!), so we waited a bit at our hostel, The Sleeping Camel.

Lindsey’s ATM card finally worked after yesterday’s fiasco and we headed off to Route Blah Blah in Hippodrome, a lively street full of restaurants, bars, and yes, a bowling alley inside a nightclub.

It was good to start the trip in such a lively city with so much art. Tomorrow: the ancient town of Djenne!

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