Day 56 : Sunday 17th Jan - Bamako, Mali
Up early, the road was a bit better so we must be getting near the capital, passed through a village where the women were making paint. Bamako was large and quite nice, people seem OK. Went for a meal with Lars, Jo, Julia, Charlotte, Metta and Metta. Drank a few beers while we waited for chicken and chips. Patric found a place to stay, it was the back yard of some buildings, it had a tap so we all had a shower together behind a wall. For once the locals don't seem too surprised to see us here. Andy was cooking so it took all night while we all had more beers. Loads of noise all night, not much sleep. Put a tent up for Charlie because he is not feeling too well.
Day 57 : Monday 18th Jan - Bamako, Mali
Up very early to get to the Burkina-Faso embassy. A few people are ill, I decided to take Charlottes place cooking with Lars. Went to a big modern bank and cashed the rest of my travellers cheques. Money is now running quite low, so I will have to get some more sent out. Charlie can't walk because of his leg, he went to the hospital with Bobbie that took all day. Me and Lars went for a pizza at an Italian restaurant, but it was very expensive at 3500 CFA. Had trouble shopping because we could not find the market place. Met some local kids Walked round with only 2 kg of onions till the last 20 mins before the truck left, getting pissed-off. Eventually found a market and bought enough stuff for a meal. Me and Lars cooked hash browns and stir fry, everyone thought it was good. Slept on the truck with Lars, Bobbie and Julia.
Day 58 : Tuesday 19th Jan - Bamako, Mali
Up at six and drove all day to a town called Djenne that has a famous mud mosque on the banks of the Niger river. Camped on the side near a village. Some local came round at night, had a vodka then went a walk with Julia along the river.
Day 59 : Wednesday 20th Jan - Djenne, Mali
Locals woke us up outside the truck wanting cadueaus at six in the morning, all they got was a load of abuse. Went to the river for a swim then did my washing with the locals, the sun dried it very quickly. The truck is not going too well, moved it to the edge of the river where it is easier to guard. We are going to leave the truck for a couple of days while Patrick and Ian fix it and get a boat up the river where they can meet us in a few days. Got a ferry across the river and started walking towards Djenne. A bloke gave me Andy, Jo, Kristin and Julia a lift in the back of his truck with 3 goats which were going for their last wash before being eaten. Saw the mud mosque and bought some ear rings for Daggi and Jaz. Found a caf頭ade out of wood and reads, it was so cool in there we ordered a meal of chicken and chips, only to see a bloke trying to catch a chicken off the streets. Bought 4 tins of corned beef off the black market ( Danish foreign aid ) to stash away for an emergency. Met Kenny and Marion who have organised the boat trip up to Mopti, 4000 CFA for two days including food. Got a taxi ( donkey and cart ) back to the river. Packed some stuff for the river trip then went to get on the boat. Found out the boat was actually two reed canoes full of water. Thinking it was a piss-take I did not get in till last. Nowhere to sit and more holes spring up all the time. Soon got soaked as did my camera and clothes. Two people had to bail out non-stop to keep us afloat. Not the best boat in the world, but the best was yet to come. When it got dark we got off and put up the tents as best we could. The only food it turns out is some sort of millet with bits of wood in, tried to eat it but then decided against it. Charlie got up twice in the night and both times managed to bring the tent down with him, absolutely no sleep.
Day 60 : Thursday 21st Jan - Niger river, Mali
The day went quite quickly, though there is nothing to see apart from the rising water in the larger boat, bailed out in shifts all day. The rice looks even worse in the day light, did not eat anything. In the afternoon went to the front of the boat and relaxed a bit. Can't be bothered to put a tent up so I just slept outside on the ground with Bobbie and Julia because there are no beasties about. Had some corned beef from one of my cans, expecting to arrive in Mopti soon.