Thursday, January 20, 2011

In Mopti for a shopping excursion; restocking the bar.
Sitting in Bar Bozo at midday with a cold beer, gazing across the shocking, marvellous, filthy vibrant mess which is Mopti Harbour. This sight, in combination with Alpha Blondy’s ‘Jerusalem’ which is playing on the restaurant’s loudspeakers produces a moment of pure exhilararion in me: the music goes straight to my core as if it was fed by intravenous drip. I feel high and reckless.

My friend Amede, the architect and owner of the splendid La Maison Rouge in Mopti turns up to join me for lunch. He must be feeling reckless too, because soon an idea is hatched between us: we are going to Timbuktu in his Pinasse to say hello to Awa in La Maison! (La Maison is a beautiful hotel in Timbuktu and Awa, the owner, is someone I have never met, although I have often spoken to her.
Later on the idea matures and Amede calls with the details: on Monday I will be picked up not far from Djenne in the luxury Pinasse run by La Maison Rouge! We will take a week to go to Timbuktu and to return, including a nght or two in Timbuktu at La Maison. I spoke to Keita in Tunis, who gave his blessing on the journey- I feel as if I have won the lottery!
I will spend my days gazing at the villages passing on the river's shore, perhaps drawing, drinking good wine and renewing my efforts from the pirogue trip five years ago to learn Le Bateau Ivre by heart...

Comme je descendais des Fleuves impassibles,
Je ne me sentis plus guidé par les haleurs :
Des Peaux-Rouges criards les avaient pris pour cibles,
Les ayant cloués nus aux poteaux de couleurs....


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