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The Capital

Mali, Bamako
Przejechano 16075 km

It was a long run to Bamako from Mopti, day by day, more than 100 km to be there as soon as possible. On the last day I did even 140 km just to get to the town by Monday evening. And, as it sometimes happens in Africa, my CS host wasn't responding for messages and phone calls.

One of my Polish friends from Burkina Faso and a very keen enthusiast of Kazimierz Nowak has given me a contact to his co-worker in Mali who happened to be in Bamako; that was the solution to my problems there. They work for the company Damco

It’s a major shipping player on the African continent. The famous "Maersk" containers are being mostly transported by them! They import most of the things; it’s easy to imagine how good business it is!

Me, straight from the road, dirty, stinky, tired and, most of all, very little certain about what would happen next. I met Fahd, the general manager of Damco in Mali. As I was a friend of his fellow from Burkina Faso who had asked him to help me, I was straightaway put by him in a quite luxurious flat of the company with the assurance that I'm a guest. There were also some other expats as me. WOW! I must say it was really generous of Fahd!

A fully furnished flat with AC was more than I had expected; it made my stay in Bamako very pleasant! I need hardly say that every day there is more than 35 degrees Celsius, so I loved my temporary shelter!

The next day, I went by my bike to the Mauritanian embassy to apply for my visa, which I hoped to be the last one on the way home! No more spending ridiculous amounts of money for temporary residence permits! All together, in central and west Africa, I have spend around 700-800 USD for visas. Where it usually cost 30 USD each, here it’s 100 USD; The Mauritanian one cost me 30 000 CEF(50 USD).

Bamako is not bad for an African capital city. It has quite modern architecture and infrastructure, electricity, tap water and the traffic is not so chaotic, or maybe I just got used to it? Food available on the stalls in the street was quite tasty and affordable, people were not to annoying as they usually are. Sometimes I was even impressed when they treated me in the ordinary way as they would treat any other black African. The city seems to be under the patina of wealth; taxies are usually modern Mercedes-Benz cars and Hummer cars driving around the city centre are the common sight.

But what surprised me the most was the very well organised National Museum and Botanic Gardens; Bamako has even a riverfront with some nice organic greenery, say nothing of main roads with bike lanes and abundant nightlife. It doesn’t look like a capital of a very poor country in Africa; the rest of the country is much more hard-core than that.

So I had my rest in AC flat charging batteries for my Sahara crossing and updating myself on the news from the rest of the world. Bamako was the start of my veritable race to home. The bike has been doing surprisingly good as far; I don’t expect any major problems until Europe. Not having much time to spare, I need to do many kilometres before I reach home – the end of the journey. The wind and dust will be my friends; I hope for the backwinds!

On Saturday, I first rode off to Keyes through, as some local described as a "good", road leading to Mauretania where I intend to rest for a few days and then set off to Morocco. Wish me good luck!
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Komentarze (1)
Emilka - 2011-10-05 21:27
strange place... nothing but a big mosque, which looks bizarrely!

Paweł, już w tą sobotę ślub Sylwii! Bądź z nami chociaż myślami i szybko wracaj do domu! buziaki!
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