Saturday, September 08, 2012

The General Soumare, on the other hand, remains in Mopti. It is a government owned ship that normally sails to Timbuktu and Gao during these months when the water of the Niger is abundant.

Bar Bozo which commands the picturesque harbour of Mopti is a legendary watering hole for toubabos, normally teeming with guides hoping to sell some CDs or take you on a sunset pinasse trip on the river.
It now lies deserted. We found its owner, a handsome Fulani woman, sitting alone on the floor of her empty restaurant, fingering her prayer beads. I greeted her and we exchanged some words: ‘We are waiting for the war now’, she said. It must happen, and it will happen soon.’

I found my friend Amede similarly alone at his splendid Maison Rouge, which is a hotel specifically aimed at the high-end of the tourist market, therefore deserted. We went on to have dinner at Martine’s- a French woman running a pleasant guest house in Sevare, popular with the NGO’s.: L’Auberge Canari. She still has enough business from this section to make it worthwhile for her to continue.
I am writing from Hotel Flandre in Sevare, where I am staying. This is a well-run Malian owned and managed hotel, which has many features that Hotel Djenne Djenno lacks: a swimming pool, satellite TV, Wifi (the latter not possible in Djenne yet.) It is popular with the African clientele, and there are quite a few guests here. (Just incidentally, it has a feature characteristic to virtually all African run hotels I have ever stayed in: there is always only one towel! And if you are staying in a double room, you are invariably obliged to go and ask for another one!)

As far as the military presence, I was not aware of any. But Amede tells me they are here, and the locals are getting annoyed at all these soldiers hanging around flirting with their girlfriends ...

Back to Djenne this afternoon.


Blogger Guanaco said...

The other day I saw on TV a documentary about the ship Gen. Soumare. Very interesting.

4:29 AM  

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