Sunday 31 July 2011

Journeying to Djenne

5:20AM wake up call! Luckily, our taxi driver Adama was ready and waiting for us outside of The Sleeping Camel. Today, we’d head out to the ancient town of Djenne, Mali.

By buying our tickets the night before with Afrique Express, we were able to secure seats as it’s first-come, first-serve. Finally, at 7AM, the bus was ready to go!

The ride was long, but we luckily received a break at the city of Segou at 11:30AM. As I was buying a pen for my journal, the bus took off (i.e. it sped away with me chasing it!). I looked around and did not see any of my travel mates. Luckily, the few Malians that spoke French told me that the bus would come back after filling up with gas.

After a few minutes, I was thankful that Lindsey showed up as I was the only one with a cell phone. Everyone said that the bus would come back, so we just relaxed and ate meat-on-a-stick.

Soooo…two hours later we were still missing the bus, our luggage, and our third travel-mate. C’est la vie.

Cheers of joy throughout the crowd were heard as the bus came back! Liz, who had taken some pharmacy-prescribed drugs for the foreign disease she picked up, had been asleep the whole time! Apparently, the bus was around the corner? Aargh…

At arrival at Carrefour Djenne, we were a bit nervous being the only ones out of a bus of 50+ to descend. It was the middle-of-nowhere.

So...where do we go from here?

So…we waited for something, anything to come. Car, bus, horse, donkey, etc. Luckily, after about twenty minutes, a taxi stated that he was going our way for 1.500CFA each and we would just need to pay the 1.000CFA tourist tax. We called our PCV buddy, Jeremy Coats, who lives in Mali and in reality, yes, the tourist tax is legal!

While on the ferry to cross the Bani River, I soon noticed that the man sitting next to me (or rather, the man who I was sharing the front seat with) had an Ithica New York College t-shirt. First-world clothing is often donated to the third-world, but apparently, this self-described nomad spent three weeks in NYC doing a slideshow (I later learned that he meant PowerPoint presentation at a tourism conference).

In Djenne, once everyone found out that we were PCVs, they wanted to take us to “Sophie’s house.” Sophie, whoever you are and wherever you are, you were very well-integrated PCV in your community!

After dinner at Chez Baba, the night was spent sweating and sleeping in the humid and hot sub-Saharan weather! Sheesh!

The Grande Mosquee, Djenne, Mali

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