Monday, May 18, 2009

I took the decision there and then to close the hotel until the 1st of July. So I wrapped everything up and ran around frantically, barking out orders to buy millet, salt and hay for my remaining horse Max and Dolly the donkey; to strip the beds; to wash the mosquito nets; to make at least 100 jars of mango and ginger jam; to give any exposed wooden beams and all windows an anti-termite treatment, etc etc.
Then, at sunset, I had a Djenne Djenne Cocktail in my rooftop bar with an Italian/ Indonesian girl working for the Aga Khan foundation on the restoration of the Djenne mosque.. We later dined in the garden under the stars and I worried about the newly installed electricity poles that loomed ominously behind the hotel, with their large neon lights which would be visible from everywhere in the hotel compound, promising to provide the hotel with garden lighting with an Auschwitz aesthetic, once the long-awaited municipal electricity finally arrives to our part of town.
I spent most of the hot night tossing around in bed trying to find a solution to this new impending disaster, and finally decided we would have to build a series of ‘mud shields, i.e. increase the height of the mud wall and add some turrets, thus creating the impression that the cold light behind was the full moon rising, rather than the neon street lighting. This would create a sort of continual dramatic stage set, all going to plan, and we would be turning a potential calamity into our advantage.
Then, at 7am on the Friday morning Baba took me back to the Djenne crossroads on his motorcycle and I trundled on back to Bamako, where meanwhile Keita had prepared for his departure.


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