Bamako, Mali (and the drive to Mopti)
Bamako is the Capitol of Mali, and is where we entered and departed.
Official estimates put the population at 1 million, although I have heard
unofficial estimates that say the real population is many times that.
It is definitely a crowded city and traffic can become completely grid-locked.
Cars, mopeds, trucks, buses, donkey carts, pedestrians, bicycles, goats
and sheep all vie for their piece of the road. There appear to be
no rules of the road and disaster continually imminent, but somehow avoided.
Don't count on anyone to give you an inch, if all you really need
is a half inch (which you will likely get ... but only if you assert your
right to it!)
The air on some days was worse than any I have ever seen. Vehicles
in poor repair (many of them with 2-cycle engines), ubiquitous Red Dust
and charcoal fires combine to form an acrid mix that resembles fog and
can be painful to breathe:
Commerce is key in a city of this size, and products get to market however
they can. Here is tonight's beef steak dinner on it's way:
The first day with Saga Tours was a long drive to Mopti. Along the
way we made a number of stops to visit villages and other features.
Here are a few scenes from one village, showing the well and a livestock
This woman was busy repairing broken gourds (used for hauling water,
grains and other things):
At one stop we saw how the designs were stenciled on traditional Malian
"mud cloth". Some finished products are shown in the right pane:
And of course we had to have our Tourist pictures taken with one of the
many Termite Mounds seen along the way:
Next stop in the tour:
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