Saturday, 6 August 2011

Mud-Cloth Making in (Segou) Mali

After realizing that we couldn't make it in one day to Bobo-Dioulasso, Burkina Faso (yes, these are names of a city and country respectively), we traveled just a few hours to Segou. Often forgotten when overshadowed by Djenne and Dogon Country, Segou and its port make for a worthwhile stop!

After yesterday's ATM fiasco, Lindsey and I tried pulling out money again. First ATM...fail. Second ATM...fail. Third ATM...sigh. We were about ready to give up, but Bank of Africa to the rescue! This was a relief as I literally had empty pockets and we needed to buy visas at the Malian-Burkina border.

After running around for a bit with a rickshaw taxi, we were able to buy tickets for the next morning's eight-hour bus ride. Whew! Two big headaches out of the way.

Strolling by the port, Lindsay and I bought a bunch of bracelets, postcards, and general trinkets at the artisan boutiques. Note: If you ever see a man with a Lakers jersey, buy from him! He'll give you fair, non-tourist prices :)

For 6.000CFA (~$12), we found ourselves in another canoe to the artisan center of Ateliers SOROBLE in Bogolan .

My new wooden turtle is so excited to see mud-cloth!

Atelier Soroble (23 21 367; soroblecentre@yahoo.fr) is a mud-cloth workshop that sells beautiful hand-woven and painted works! We were able to walk the entire premises watching cloth being spun to admiring the finishing touches. Who knew mud could be so elegant?

Spinning cloth and rocking an Abercrombie t-shirt!

On the way back, Lindsey gracefully handles men from Timbuktu

At dinner at Hotel Djoliba, we had the most amazing service that I've seen here in West Africa. Often while eating, I take short rests (I'm a slow eater, it happens). Upon seeing one of my breaks, the waiter came over to ask if there was anything in my pasta. Umm, meat? It turns out that because I only took a few bites and then sat back, he assumed that it wasn't good and was checking up on me! In a world where customer service doesn't really exist (no smiles, orders taken and plates given at different times, hunts to find the waiters, etc.), this was refreshing!

Tomorrow: Burkina Faso!

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