Monday, June 16, 2008

I am back in Bamako, writing to you from the bar at the new much vaunted hotel Villa Soudan where I am staying out of curiosity before leaving for Segou tomorrow. This is undoubtedly a great location, and the hotel, well, certainly, it's quite OK..

A momentous day involved about 3 hours nerve-racking flitting backwards and forwards across town in a yellow taxi clutching a bulging money bag full of pounds stirling which noone wanted to change, including all the major banks. 'We haven't taken stirling for 10 years' they sniffed, and yawned before turning away from me. This had the effect of making me come over all British, having to squash a ridiculous urge to explain that the pink bits on the map used to be MUCH bigger than anything the frogs ever had, so there, and what's wrong with pounds, excuse me??
And this money is supposed to pay for the new public loos at Djenne Djenno!
Finally, after much nail-biting and brow-wiping I found an obliging M.Coulibaly to do the deed, so I was able to dash off to the FOFY mattress depot and buy 12 new top-class super expensive single mattresses in a sort of foam called ph6, which is what any hotel which takes itself seriously has to have it seems. All my mattresses will be changed for this season- the 'ph2' mattresses I bought two years ago have started to sag.
During the mad dashing around town my yellow cab passed several times by the Government Administration Buildings which are under construction, financed by the Libyans. They can be seen on the other side of the river, in the distance, in the picture above. They are absolutely Gargantuan- a sort of Brave New World place, containing enough concrete to build 50 hospitals or 500 schools. And what exactly will people do there? Store files? It is not necessary, is it? Everything that will go on there will probably fit on to a couple of hard drives, no? and they could have saved on some concrete?
Talking of hard drives and such technological wonders, this blog entry is historic in so far that I am doing it on my own computer with my new Orange thingy sticking out of the side of it, purchased this afternoon at the Bamako Orange Head quarters. The Orange people promise in their marketing blurb that this device can be used anywhere in Mali that has mobile network coverage. But when I arrived and said: does that include Djenne?, they looked at each other nervously and started fidgeting. (Djenne is regarded as the epitome of the back and beyond here, more so than Timbuktu even, which of course carries that distinction internationally) Finally they had to call their chief pundit, who said yes, indeed, it should work!
So here goes, let's send this off first of all, and then on to try it in Djenne! All going well, you will get bulletins straight from the sunset bar in a couple of days!


Post a Comment

<< Home