Saturday, July 15, 2017

Commuting to Timbuktu

For a continuation of my adventures please go to my new blog here.

Saturday, July 01, 2017

The Last Time


Sometimes we are not aware when something happens for the last time. Circumstances change without our intervention; we take leave of someone quite casually and we don’t know that we will never see them again;  decisions are made over which we have no power which have  sudden and deep consequences in  our lives. But a few times  only  there is a conscious choice to end something of major importance.  Last night when I was sitting with my sunset cocktail over- looking the mosque, I knew that this daily ritual was happening for the very last time. I was regaled with a blue cloudless sky and a clear  sunset and I hung on to the very last dying ember of light as it descended on the horizon to the right of the Great Mosque. Then I had dinner on the roof alone under a clear bejewelled Malian sky.

The night before was the final party: a ‘family affair’ for those that have served at the hotel: a lovely evening complete  with Diao, our faithful Fulani  milkman who arrived  with his son; our griots came and sang mine and Keita’s praises.


They  sang of those that have gone, of Beigna and Pudiogou and of Fatou, but also of Papa, Baba and Maman, and of course of the lovely Elisabet, my film-making cousin.  



We feasted on the goat that we bought in Madiama market a few days ago, and Papa was respendent in his white hatted chef outfit.


For days the contents of the hotel have been quietly leaving.  Mattress by mattress, air conditioner by air conditioner, the hotel has trickled away until it stood quite bare, and only Maman, Baba and Papa were left this morning, dividing the last spoils between themselves. There has been a change of state: this hotel which I created no longer exists.


December 12, 2006:
“Tomorrow it will be just a week before Hotel Djenné Djenno is officially open. In two weeks time my Christmas guests will already be leaving. But today the site was still just as usual, full of workmen, and full of wheel barrows and mud. But the clearing up has begun. Something major is about to happen- a change of state.
In just over a week I will no longer be building a hotel, it will actually exist, and I will be running a hotel. My reality is about to change. Today I looked at all the space of the hotel which is about to be born. I thought of all the unknown things which will happen in this space, and which are now resting here like embryos. It is all about to begin to unfold. I thought of all the people who will one day come here, and laugh, have fun and make love here, although today they don’t even know it. And yet, by some mysterious workings they will come here ...
So Maestro, soon soon, let the play begin..”

And it did, and the players were many. And last night they all finally left the stage, sweeping the floor with their feathered  hats as they took  their final bow...

 ( this is the last message from Djenne Djenno. There will be more about other places and other adventures, inshallah.   Should you wish to follow me there, please look in here now and then. You will be directed to another blog  soon.  Thank you to all you who have looked in over these 11 years and followed my life and adventures in Djenné. It has been, so far, the best years of my life.)