Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Have just arrived back to my hideously over priced 'budget' hotel, having had the most expensive dinner of my life. I had exactly one Caesar's salad, a San Pellegrino sparkling water and one glass of mediocre red wine. This cost about 50 Euros! My hotel costs nearly 200 Euros. I don't mind paying for a nice hotel in the right circumstances, but this is supposed to be just somewhere to sleep on my way to Amsterdam, and it could not possibly be described as 'nice'even by the most indiscriminate of guests!
To stay at Hotel Djenne Djenno costs,for 2 people, if you choose the nicest room, about 56 Euros. To have a 3 course dinner costs just over 10 Euros per person. If you have a driver with you, your driver sleeps and eats for free. But people complain and think Hotel Djenne Djenno is expensive!!!

I feel better now.

The picture above is my cousin Pelle's attempt at understanding the dynamics and inter-relationships of my world in Djenne, so he gets a clearer picture when he reads this diary. It also served to illustrate my mood, which is turning back to Djenne now...
I want to go back. I am ready to go back and to face the challenges of the new season, which come in many shapes:

Keita is not well, that is one great challenge. He is supposed to come and start working again, but we don't know what will happen. More of this later...

Tourism in Mali looks set to continue in the doldrums for at least the next season, because of security alerts by the French authorities and others for reasons unfathomable to the people who live and work in the Malian tourist areas where NOTHING HAS EVER HAPPENED!

Richard Trillo, the author of the Rough Guide to West Africa has written a good article on the situation on www.theroughguidetowestafrica.blogspot.com

He writes:
"In Mali, I can’t explain the recent blanket “we advise against all travel east of Ségou” government travel advisories. To me these seem like a massive over-reaction to a spotty catalogue of incidents over many years that have all taken place many hundreds of miles to the northeast. You don’t have to search far on the travel forums to find glowing accounts by returning travellers of their recent experiences in central Mali – in the Dogon country, in Mopti and Djenné, along the Niger, and in Timbuktu – and mystification at why their governments are advising against anyone following in their footsteps."

But the French seem hell-bent on destruction for the Mali tourist industry. Could it have anything to do with Amadou Toumani Toures's (the Malian President) refusal to sign an agreement with The French to repatriate Malians who have lived many years in France to Mali? This is what the Malians think. I can't help wondering if they might have a point?
Did the French put a blanket no-go red zone on Morocco last month when 14 tourists were killed in Marrakesh?
In Mali nothing has ever happened in any of the tourist areas!


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