February 22, 2004

The End

I went to the airline office this morning, where they provide a 'pre-departure baggage check-in service'. This means you get to stand outside in the hot sun for an hour or so, while waiting to get to the desk in the shed outside their offices. It does, however mean you don't have to go through all that hassle at the airport itself, meaning there's much less chance of missing your flight due to ineptitude by the check-in staff. My bag received much derision because it had a hole in the top, and also only weighed 7kg. I have no defence for this state of affairs. I am truly sorry.
I am going to the airport at 8pm, leaving only 6 more hours for me to be run over, robbed, or catch malaria. Actually, I have seen the way the French drive, and been to the Gare de Nord. Meaning, that in my opinion, all of the above are much more likely to happen in Paris. Even the malaria, as I'm not safe until 4-6 weeks after I get back. Yes, those little parasites take a while to hatch out in your liver.
It's been a relaxing stay here in Bamako, as I've been reading, eating and sleeping, and I'm in what you might call the posh part of town (i.e. there are some restaurants).
It's very hot actually, and this may sound strange, but I kind of forgot that it is cold in Europe, which is only 6 hours north of here. I guess that's enough to make the difference. Speaking of which, I just read that the Pentagon says Britain will have a Siberian Climate by 2020. Great! We can all move to Mali. I thought the problem was global warming, not global freezing, so I suppose I'd better read the article again.
Moving swiftly on, I have noticed that when you go into a shop here you don't just walk in and say, 'A coke please'. You say, 'Hello, how are you?'. Then you shake the hand of the shopkeeper. He says, 'Fine, how are you?'. You say that you are fine, and perhaps you ask if his family are OK and so on. I tend to skip this part, as it is against my extreme nature of Britishness to be this chatty to shopkeepers. However, you can't miss the handshake and 'How are you?', as that would be very rude. It's kind of nice, if not a bit time consuming. I'm thinking of trying it out in the Argos on the Holloway Road.
Well, that's it. The Africa Blog is over. I've very much enjoyed writing it, and hopefully some people have enjoyed reading it. Maybe there is even a person out there who has read it, that doesn't even know me. That would be a miracle of the internet!
So, Paris awaits...

Posted by paul at February 22, 2004 01:55 PM


Goodbye Africa Blog.

If you do try the handshake hello thing in Argos, you have to let me know, as I would insist on being present to watch the bemused reactions of the cuffy staff.

Posted by: Kev at February 22, 2004 03:16 PM