Sunday, October 30, 2016

A Varied Bamako Visit.

The last ten days have been spent in an interesting suspension between the finest luxury available and  the hardships of Mali.  The first of these states came about because of HRH Prince Carl Philip of Sweden who just left Mali where he had spent some days visiting the Swedish UN troops. He had dinner at Eva’s Residence the other night. So far so good with the name dropping. 

  Now I would love to say that I met the gorgeous prince but alas I did  not. I spent a few evenings filled with culinary delights though, as Eva and I tried out the recipes she was serving at the gala dinner which was so full of four-star generals and other glittering officials that there was no space left for an odd one out like me. Sometimes Eva thinks it is fun to let me be there too as a sort of mascot or curiosity, like the last time I was in Bamako and there was a dinner for twelve with no less than nine ambassadors present. I sat next to the German ambassador and on the other side there was the new French ambassador, the very chic Mme Evelyne Decorps who had just arrived to Mali the day before. We had a fun conversation about fairytales in German - I try out my German on His Excellency Herr Becker whenever I see him and he is very kind and polite to me and doesn't laugh too much.  Madame Decorps  spoke fluent German.

 The other side of the coin, the hardships of Mali, was supplied by my bus journey back and forth to the capital: a gruelling experience at the best of times but getting worse since the road is so bad now between Djenné and Segou. I believe that no one who has any power ever travels on this road now- they all fly up to Mopti on UN planes and are not aware of the degraded state of the road. There are plenty of colour and excitement on the road though as consolation: I would recommend anyone who wants to see the ‘real’ Mali to take a long Malian bus journey: gruelling but strangely up- lifting. 

There is almost no breakfast in the world that can equal a freshly caught and deep-fried fish with lots of salt wrapped in a piece of old cement bag on the banks of the Bani at dawn while waiting for the ferry .


Blogger Tabor said...

Having lived in "third world" situations for over 7 years I can certainly agree with your sentiments. The cushion of semi-luxury does not really allow a clear window to the real world and both its beauty and ugliness.

5:30 PM  
Blogger toubab said...

Where did you live Tabor?

10:14 AM  
Blogger Tabor said...

I lived on a South Pacific island in Micronesia for 7 years and in INdonesia for two.

2:45 PM  
Blogger toubab said...

How lovely! I have never been to those places it sounds very exotic to me.

3:13 PM  
Blogger Tabor said...

It was lovely, stressful, enlightening, frightening and exotic...which is life I guess.

9:10 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home