Edit Blog Post
Published: November 9th 2008
When I crossed the border by buss I was really positive and meditative. The hot wind blowing furiously in my face, as the bleached scenery rushed by, drenched in the strongest Sahelian sun.
It was a pleasure to see slight hills, and eventually a valley in which the Niger flowed, as we drove into Niamey, the capital. This is Niger, remember, not Nigeria! This is a country of some 14 million people, considered to be the poorest country in the world for third consecutive year, and there were no severe droughts those years, so one can see the state of things thought that fact alone. It seems to be holding on to democracy tough, just, and that will be put to the test in the next few months as the next election comes up, and we see what the guy in power does. For once it matters, as there is a rebellion in the north of the country, a really sad situation linked with bad distribution of funds to the Tuareg minority from teh north.
A few days ago I got a but to Agadez, the capital of the rebelious region, no worries, it has been qute sqfe for
Douglas with a giraffe!!!!
The peacefulest creatures to be with!
some months. But it is q reql shqme to see the crumbled tourist infrastructure in such a beautiful part of the cuntry, a diffiult sight to behold, yet life goes on, market day is busy, and people seem to just go about with the hard lives they have to lead, not much time to sit arround and worry I guess.
The trip up north was very scenic, the lower trees and bushes gave way to the grasses, plains and then the desert, with hints of dunes as we got to town. There is a beautiful old mosque in sahelian stile, which is to say mostly made of mud, a nice ochre red type tower which can be climed, and the lovely maze of the old town can be seen from the top. It was realy nice to see a historical town centre after some time wihtout it. Organnic shapes, soft lines and human imprint everywhere, here, more than normal, as the mud usually is patted down with bare hands, sometimes leaving mand finger prints as a texture, sometimes leaving arches drawn in with the four fingers, making arches or waves, and the playfullness on making your home comes out
Munching 45 minutes from Niamey, Niger's capital.
as a pleasure to see. Thnakfully the dust storms aren't too strong and the blue sky is just a perfect coour compliment to the redish earth tone of the houses.
Again in Niger I meet the Tuareg, what a people! despite a less then helpfull driver when I went into a national park, I still rate them as my favorite people as a whole. As dangerous as such statements might be, I can't believe how they consistently have a piercingly intimate gaze, that seems to look straight into your heart, a sneaky smile you just wish you ould take home and the brightest eyes ever. Charmers, gentle and sooo easy going, I have little but praise for them as a well mannered peope, shame they thought it necessary to resort to violence in Niger to get a voice heard, and all the problems we know that can bring.
I also had a slice of the classical african experiene in the last couple of weeks, as I headed out to walk amongst a heard of graffes in a nature reserve, than went to see antilope, gazelle, crocodiles, buffalo and the lot... a very nice experience to be sure, despite
my never intending to do it in the first place, but having met a very nice guy who invited me along on his tour, well, no rules against that!! -many birds and a few monkeys along the way too, so a lovely couple of days really.
Niamey had fewer fantastic restaurants as the guide led me to believe, but I certainly sampled the best of the ones that are here, and had a great time tryig african fod, european and even some asian. Unlike Ouagadougou, which had tha best Pizza, great mozarella and tomato salads, pasta ishes etc...Niamey proved to be stronger on te african side, copious amounts of Capitaine -Nile Perch- and a great number of Biere Niger, only to be topped by Obama winning the presidential elections in the land of the free.
Winter does have some meaning in the Sahara after al and the temperatures are much more agreeable, lovely evenings, and me, whilst planning to head to the south to see Hausa architecture in a couple of days, then make my way to Benin, am relaxing in Agadez for a couple of days.
There you go updated for teh moment, lots of love to all, Doug.
Tot: 2.683s; Tpl: 0.042s; cc: 13; qc: 54; dbt: 0.0469s; 2; m:saturn w:www (220.127.116.11); sld: 2;
; mem: 1.4mb