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January 1st 2011
Published: January 1st 2011
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into Bamako into Bamako into Bamako

Coming into land in Bamako, Mali
Firstly Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to everyone. We have not been in Mali for about 11 days - hard to keep up with the days and date....but we have power this am and hopefully internet later today so I will start at the beginning.

We arrived in Bamako (capital of Mali) on 22nd December minus our luggage. The flights from Bangkok to Addis and then to Bamako made it a very long day - about 16 hours in the air, plus down time at airports and we lost about 11 hours in actual time. Thankfully we had a 20 hour stop over in Bangkok to catch up on some sleep otherwise I don't think I could have handled the lost luggage thing as well. I was only one of about 50 people who didn't get their luggage on that flight and we met the next flight from Addis Ababa 2 days later and there was still no luggage and another 25 people looking for lost luggage on that flight - so then I began to worry a bit. Many thanks to our travelling buddies we shared some face products, toothpaste, clean t-shirts, etc. Obviously we are not the
Bamako airport Bamako airport Bamako airport

Welcome to Mali
first people to loose our luggage but if becomes very frustrating when you put soo much effort into packing and planning for a trip and when your bags get lost you have absolutely no control over it at all.

Michael and I felt very special as we were given the seats where we put in charge of the emergency exist on the Addis Ababa to Bamako sector - never had to do that before but it got us extra leg room for that part of the trip.

Our hotel was beautiful and the staff very helpful - they got used to us walking around bare footed because the only shoes we had on us were our trekking boots - good look.

We met our guides and got an update on the tour and then set off to explore the market.

Ventured out into Bamako - taxi to and from the hotel who waited for us for an hour - not nearly enough time. Obviously 4 whities stood out amongst the thousands of African faces. This market was amazing, busy, hard to describe - but 100 times bussier than anything in Asia. Even though there are individual
local bus bamako local bus bamako local bus bamako

This bus is in good condition.
stalls out the front of people's houses here - it doesn't seem to be to the same extent as you see in Asia - most of the trade goes on in this hugh market.

We were picked up by a couple of guys - Emiel from Cameroon and another guy from Mopti - and they herded us through and around the market. We would never have gotten soo far into the market without them. Emiel is a musician (as is almost everyone in Mali) and he will be playing at the Festival in Timbuktu.
We particularly wanted to see the artisians section of the market but we finally got there very late, with no time to look around and plan to hit only that section again. In this section of the market you watch everything being made...I watched a guy tighten up a Djembe.....local silver jewerly makers, bags, other musical instruments, cloth, etc. Michael reckons that he is giving me all the money before we go into the market, as the men seem to be targetted for sales more than the women and Michael came home with a Mali soccer shirt...he didn't really want it but it will be a nice souvenier and may be the only other shirt that he has to wear.

There are some fine looking African men here and of course the women are beautiful. The women dress beautifully - the younger ones in a more western style but everyone else more traditionally - and the colors, patterns, glitter, etc was such a contrast in the grimy market place. Some of the younger men wear suits made from very bright pattened material while their girlfriends were wearing western clothing.
We have been told that Mali is a very safe country, has a mixture of religions and they all live compatabily together and respect each other's customs. We were told that the Festival of the Desert will be a very special one as the President of Mali will be attending (lots of security) as the country is celebrating their 50th year of independence.

We also visited the Bamako Museum which had a good display of Dogon art and a lot of great fabric displays. The grounds were hugh and there was a wedding being held in the gardens while we were there. As we entered the main gate great African hip hop was being played through loud speakers - just to set the mood...I am still trying to track down that particular artist and CD. The grounds (park as it is called) is used for lots of functions and well known artists play there as well.

We heard that a popular Malian artist was playing at a night club on the Thursday night - but then learned that the club didn't open until midnight - maybe just a little too late for us oldies - but we will see a lot of these artists at the music festival. Our guide told us that he went home and slept from 7pm until 1am, then got up and showered and then went out dancing.......seems very typical of the music clubs here.
Our hotel put on a special menu for Christmas - which was nice - and they also decorated the foyer area with western decorations......didn't really feel like Christmas for us but we did celebrate with a glass or two of champagne.

Our travelling companions are two young girls - one works as a nanny in Nice and one is the manager of a day care centre in the UK. Both are well travelled
Bamako hotelBamako hotelBamako hotel

View of the swimming pool of our hotel - it's a pity that I didn't have any bathers with me....
and mature and we all seem to get on well together sharing similar stories and sense of humour.....so all good.

Additional photos below
Photos: 17, Displayed: 17


market bamako market bamako
market bamako

All sorts of goodies and animal parts that would be good for your health
Bamako museumBamako museum
Bamako museum

One of the buildings within the museum grounds.
Bamako museum Bamako museum
Bamako museum

Grounds within the Bamako Museum
Bamako museum Bamako museum
Bamako museum

Banner announcing tonights entertainment.
Bamako museumBamako museum
Bamako museum

Gardens within the Bamako Museum complex
Hammer and AlyHammer and Aly
Hammer and Aly

Meet our guides....

2nd January 2011

Happy New Year
Hi Ros & Mick, Great to see that you are having such a fascinating time. Will you ever get your luggage back?I can just see you Ros, grooving to that wonderful African music - you will love it! Have a lovely time - can't wait to hear your stories in person. Love Merri
2nd January 2011

Mick and Roz
Did you get your luggage back or is it now a donation to some rebel tribe elsewhere than where you intended it to be??
2nd January 2011

Yay!! Another blog!!! Love the photos...please keep sending more when you can of course!! Glad to hear your luggage was found and returned. Xmas and New Year on a mine site went much better than expected - a wonderful supervisor arriving on site has helped greatly....will find some time to fill in the details on R&R!! All well here - continue having fun on your adventure!! Love You!!
3rd January 2011

G'day from soggy Australia
G'day Mike and Ros. Sounds like you are enjoying your holiday even though you have been luggaeless - better to be legless - and jet lagged. Mali seems to be an interesting place although I must admit it doesn't spring to mind as the first place I would choose to visit! Christmas Day was a fun affair. All adults with a day long Wii tournment combined with bubbly, beer and much too much food. Marilyn was a laugh and she enjoyed the day. The rain finally stopped about the 29Dec and then the sun came out - boy talk about humidity. It has been raining off and on since but nothing like the days over Christmas. Life , once again goes on as normal. Doug, Courtney and a heap of other friends went to Noosa to celebrate to New Year and came back yesterday. Em is settled into her new flat and we have your table back with us. The dining area is quite large so she now has our old dining room table and two of our chairs. Molly moves out to Grace on 19Feb and is looking forward to it. On the karting front we are still waiting for the track to open so we can start testing for 2011. The rain up here has gone temporarily - thank goodness. We had 180mm in 4 days and that was after all the rain we had before you left. As you can imagine flooding has been widespread and the feeling is that some people - particularly around Emerald I think - will not get back into their homes for about 3 months. Maybe people will start to realise why Queensland homes are on stumps - not slabs. There are more rain periods forecast right up to March so it could get interesting. The sun is out now but the humidity is through the roof. It will make for interesting jetting decisions. We have started a bit of spring? cleaning around the house with the trailer backed up to the back steps. It is half full already with another pile for the salvos. It is amazing what you accumulate over the years. I am not sure when you will get this but continue enjoying yourselves and be safe. Love The Queensland Amisssssssssssss

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