Thursday, May 30, 2013

Back in Djenne

Back in Djenne after a schizophrenic two weeks in Bamako: daytime trying to produce not only acceptable but beautiful merchandise in the grime and madness which lies at the heart of the capital: the Artisanat and the central market. It is impossible to imagine a more tumultuous and anarchic location.
But there were consolations at hand in the latter part of the days which were spent in the air conditioned comfort of the Bamako diplomatic lifestyle- either relaxing by my hostess Anne-Maria’s pool or having drinks or dinner at the best of what Bamako has to offer.
But even with such unquestionable perks I was thrilled to come home to Djenne. Went riding tonight on Petit Bandit who seemed pleased to see me- or was it my wishful thinking? Just had a whisky and ginger juice on my terrace and watched once more the football players kick up the dust in the empty space between the hotel  and the Great Mosque.
The heat is no longer tempered by the blasts of the Harmattan but the air is absolutely  still and the heavens seem like the lid of a pressure cooker- there is now no relief until the rains start. Keita and I will sleep on the roof tonight, but the stars are no longer visible and the night brings no cooling down: this is the end and the culmination of the Great Heat.
There were supposed to be 6 Americans here from the US embassy tonight. Everyone got excited of course as usual at the prospect of some proper hotel guests. Dinner was planned, small repairs were carried out, garden was swept with special care and Boubakar was told to go and wash his uniform  which was looking grubby I thought. Then I thought I’d better check if there wasn’t any vegetarians among them, so I sent a text message off, and soon got a reply: ‘they were not coming. It had been cancelled. So sorry!’  Now, would I have known this if I hadn’t texted them about the vegetarians? Who knows.  Perhaps they would have told us…. I texted back saying “no problem but that it is important to cancel things in small hotels in the bush.” Actually I don’t know if there ARE any small hotels in the bush left. We may be the only one!


Blogger David said...

So casual! Are you grand enough to have a 'fee payable for less than 24 hours' notice of cancellation'? You should.

Talking about you fondly with Juliette as we roamed the grimy streets of Euston searching for Diwani (which we found and enjoyed). Cressida's new book of cake designs is absolutely fabulous (really!)

8:13 AM  
Blogger toubab said...

Diwani? Must be one of those Indian restaurants around the corner from Euston? I have a dream of opening a good Indian reataurant in Bamako!

2:44 PM  
Blogger David said...

Indeed it is: still a lovely, relaxed, down to earth atmosphere. One of those rare London places that hasn't changed in decades.

Bamako could do with a good few simple but quality eateries, from our limited experience. If that place round the corner from Ann's-that-was is regarded as the best in town - Amandine's, wasn't it - standards need to change (and I'm not talking posh).

4:10 PM  
Blogger toubab said...

Ah well, Amandine's is what it is... a hamburger and ice cream joint, for which I have a soft spot because of many happy times spent there. But that is NOT the best Bamako has to offer, and it was not even when you were here. There are some very good restaurants in Bamako- I think particularly of a Thai restaurant the name of which now escapes me, but which is the 'canteen' of the diplomatic people.

9:23 PM  

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