February 19, 2004

4 Days Left

As the time has arrived that the Africa Blog has 4 days left to run, I thought I would reflect on the trip, but in the absence of a mirror I will just say some things instead.
I've found it pretty hard going a lot of the time, which is not to say I haven't enjoyed myself a lot as well, and it's certainly been interesting. Aside from the guys who make their living hassling tourists, the people here have been nothing but kind, polite and friendly. Considering how rich I am compared to almost everybody here, there seems to be very little resentment, and very low levels of crime.
I've found it hard being on my own a lot, as there are not many other people around who can speak English, and my French is regrettably not up to conversation levels. I am also very grateful for being made to learn at least some French in school, as without knowing any at all, travel here would have been made much more of an ordeal (if that's possible!!)
The difficulty of travelling here, it seems, is that there is not much middle ground. There is cheap (not as cheap as you might think) and rough, where you are crammed into a tiny battered car for hours on end, and sleep on a dirty mattress. Then there is the other extreme, where you hire a car and driver, go on tours, and stay in posh hotels in the cities. There is not too much in the middle, and the middle is where I would prefer to be, being a little old for all the hardship, but not quite rich enough for the other option. Although, if I had come for less time I could have come in style.
Anyway, I finished the Swedish book. The butler did it. Well, no it wasn't the butler. The book had a crap ending. I have nothing else to say on the matter.
My flight is with 'Trans Africa Airlines'. Never heard of them? A little research shows that they are the brand new carrier for Mali, since Air Mali has now ceased to exist apparently. My only hope is that they maintain their airplanes better than they do their cars...

Posted by paul at February 19, 2004 07:02 PM


I've enjoyed reading about all your hassles and encounters on the trip, it has certainly made my life alittle more interesting over the last week as I've been sitting around nursing 2 broken arms and a broken collar bone after being knocked from my bike by a car. Sore but on the mend now. I think you shold continue with your reflection on the trip and post some photos when you get back. Your brief comments about the attitude to recent American behaviour was an insight but not quite as much as the avaliability of Vimto (no P here by the way) which I've only recently seen again since moving up north! Have a good flight back- Graham D.

Posted by: Graham at February 20, 2004 01:57 PM