The Mali Finale! part 4- Into the Sahel

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April 28th 2009
Published: April 28th 2009
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Our Transport to Timbuktu!Our Transport to Timbuktu!Our Transport to Timbuktu!

Limited space, poor air circulation, and completely packed... Perfect!
Man...and I thought the trip from Ouaga to Mopti was long... boy was I wrong! Sixteen hours... that's how long it took to reach Timbuktu.

Sixteen hours cramped into the back of a Tro Tro filled with eight people in the back, four in the middle, three in the front, and one guy on top. Sixteen hours, of minimal water and no food. Sixteen hours of hot hundred degree weather amplified exponentially by the extremely close quarters. Sixteen hours of sandy Sahara dust blowing in through the windows. Sixteen hours stuck in a vehicle where no one spoke English. Sixteen hours of playing through every song from every CD, TV show, musical, movie, and video game that I know in my head. Sixteen hours to have my legs completely cramp up and be incredibly sore. Sixteen horrible, long, uncomfortable, hot, hours!!

Okay... whew... I think I'm better now... sorry about that gang. Just needed to do a little venting! It was a long haul across the desert to be sure. But it was an amazing experience that I probably will never want to do again but also one I wouldn't trade for anything. Besides it wasn't that
The Face of Pure Joy...The Face of Pure Joy...The Face of Pure Joy...

I've never been so uncomfortable in a vehicle in my life
bad...well, actually it was...but it could have been worse!

We would stop every now and then whenever we had to cross the Niger River. Which was completely awesome! We would have to use a giant ferry boat to accomplish this task so that added some spice to the trip. I've also never been more grateful for a flat tire than when we got one with this trip! It allowed us a break, a little bonding time with the passengers, Ryan took a dip in the river, and we also saw a hippo!Sweet.

The long ride also allowed us to see the beautiful night sky... a pitch black tapestry occupied by an endless sea of stars... it was awe inspiring. The natural beauty of Mali continues to amaze me.

So despite the hardships there were always opportunities to count our blessings, and see the best in the situation. Oddly enough though, when we finally did arrive at our destination, we couldn't care less! All we wanted to do was sleep...something that close to impossible in the extremely cramped and bumpy Tro Tro. Unfortunately we had no idea where we were in the city or where to even begin
Ferry Boat on the NigerFerry Boat on the NigerFerry Boat on the Niger

The path we took to Timbuktu had a cross the Niger at least three separate times
our search for cheap accommodations...Good times, good times...

Additional photos below
Photos: 5, Displayed: 5


The Power of TeamworkThe Power of Teamwork
The Power of Teamwork

Flat tire? No problem, we had more than enough hands!
Stretchin' Out at the NigerStretchin' Out at the Niger
Stretchin' Out at the Niger

Nice thing about flat tires... You get to get out of the vehicle!

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