Wednesday, July 09, 2014

The Forbidden City of Djenné.

Glad to be back. 
 It has been particularly fun here during the last few days: never let it be said when it is all over that I was bored in Djenné! There may not be many tourists here, but I like to console myself by my conviction that quality wins over quantity every time. I have had exactly two hotel guests since I returned to Djenné, and they have been all that a lone toubab hotelière could wish for:
First there was the intrepid Peter, Swedish ambassador to Afghanistan on holiday in Mali (clearly an enthusiast for countries in crisis), who arrived quite unceremoniously and incognito on the Bani bus from Bamako. There was a misunderstanding about our picking him up at the Djenné Carrefour: we expected him to call us from San, an hour away from the Carrefour. But nevermind, since there was no one waiting for him he quite simply hired Amadou and his old pick-up which stands at the Djenné cross roads waiting to fill up. 

Peter called Djenné ‘The Forbidden city’, since every government advises against  all non essential travel in Mali.  We had drinks at sunset on the roof of course, and dinner under the stars during which time we talked politics, life and everything else as is customary at hotel Djenné Djenno. The following day Keita and I drove him to the border of Burkina Faso: on the way he gave me good advice about how to approach the writing of the potential book from this blog. I have always thought it is something I will do in my dotage when there is nothing else to do and I am sitting in my flat in Stockholm, hopefully gazing out over some of Stockholm’s many ravishing water expanses. But Peter thought I must start it now: it is only here I can observe things properly. When I have left it will be too late.  
We arrived at the Burkina border late afternoon and Keita negotiated a ticket on a Bobo-bound bus and His Excellency squeezed himself onto the last seat amongst the voluminous baggage and the chickens for his journey to Bobo and finally to Ouagadougou, where he said he would try and find Tess of Agadez, the other Swedish woman of the Sahel. Tess had a hotel in Agadez, but because of the unstable situation she was forced to leave and is now running a guest house in Ouaga. We have never met.


Blogger Gilliane said...

Sophie, so lovely to read of your recent CHARMING guests. I hope your next visitors will live up to the high cultural and intellectual standards set by these two gentlemen. YOU deserve only the BEST !
Love G xxx

9:52 AM  
Blogger David said...

Welcome home - told you you'd love it again when you got there. Glyndebourne lake pics on their way.

4:07 PM  
Blogger toubab said...

Hell my dear friends Gilliane and David! One day I hope you will meet each other. I would LOVE the Glyndebourne pics David. How glamorous that evening seems now! I am so glad you invited me to that most English of events! And what a perfect evening it was. Much love to you both!xxx

6:51 PM  
Blogger toubab said...

P.S. I mean HELLO not HELL!

6:52 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home