Monday, June 16, 2008

Trek Through Africa: BURKINA-FASO (Day 61-65)

Day 61 : Friday 22nd Jan - Niger river, Mali

Wrong about there being no beasties, bitten all over on my face in the night. Now find out that the idiots on the boat can't count and we don't know how far away Mopti is or how long it will take to get there. Third day with no food, spent all day in the small boat reading. Slept on my own at night under my net, feeling so weak I slept like a log.

Day 62 : Saturday 23rd Jan - Niger river, Mali

Identical to yesterday, finished the rest of my corned beef. Everyone is fed up and very hungry. Went on into the night and it got very cold. How many more days of this have we got ?

Day 63 : Sunday 24th Jan - Mopti, Mali

Loads of locals around in the morning scrounging for food as if we have any. Arrived in Mopti in the afternoon. Some blokes tried to make us pay for using the jetty off the boat, in no mood to put up with this hassle, one of them ended up swimming. Straight to the best restaurant in town overlooking the harbour, had a great meal of fish and chips plus a couple of beers. Everyone feeling much better now we have eaten. Met Mike and Claire who made their own way up. Drove out of town to make camp in a field with a few large trees, slept under my net again, found out that the slightest wind blows it down. Usual locals scrounging in the morning, gave them a few empty cans etc. Into Mopti again for another beer with Charlie and Lars. Guarded the truck with Charlie for an hour then went to a Chinese restaurant for steak and chips, very good and cheap, feeling a lot better now. Had another beer at the same place and found that my camera is not working because it got soaked on the boat. Word has now got round that we are in town and the police are after us for money. Did a runner down the back streets to get away, then had to sneak back to the truck. The police have gripped Metta, Metta and Charlotte and taken away their passports. Had to pay an even larger bribe to get them back. Strange country where the locals seem OK but the police are the scum of the earth. Did not get away till 4:00. Sat on the dog box out of town then put up Julia?s tent because she was cooking. Slept under my net next to the road.

Day 64 : Monday 25th Jan - Mopti, Mali

Made our own packed lunch at breakfast then drove to a small town in the Dogon country. Picked up an English speaking guide with Julia, Jo and Charlie, then drove to the Dogon Escarpment. Still can't get my camera to work so Charlie said that I can have a copy of his photos. We all went off different ways with our guides after paying 500 CFA tax. Climbed up the rocks to various houses and land marks, then to a village below for lunch. Had some local brew of dubious origin then fell asleep on a big double bed outside. Woke up two hours later and walked up the rocks again, long way back to the truck in late afternoon with little water to drink. Had a few drinks of pop on the truck then the trouble started with the locals. Claire had lost her watch, all the kids got searched by the village elders which was a good laugh to watch. Up on the dog box for ages, had a vodka and orange before sleeping on the truck with Julia, Bobbie and Jo.

Day 65 : Tuesday 26th Jan - Mali / Burkina Faso

Up early with the cooks, emptied my locker and re-packed it while they were doing breakfast. Into a village for shopping and bought some stodge-balls and peanuts. Went up into the dog box and stayed there all day. Caught the sun a lot but a good drive. Crossed the boarder OK into Burkina Faso ( ex Upper Volta ), in no time at all we had been stopped by the police four times wanting money. These pigs are lower than bandits, I hate them. Had a meeting at night about the food kitty, stores, visa costs, and setting up a new cigarette kitty specifically for paying the bribes with. Ian in a bad mood about the way things are going. Slept in a tent with Charlie. Niels kept everyone awake at night throwing up.

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