Mali #4: Bamako–>Segou–>Sevare

On January 3 we started the long journey to Sevare.

Loading one of the two 4x4s in Bamako

Loading one of the two 4x4s in Bamako

We hopped into our 4x4s and headed out of Bamako, seeing its largest building, a bank mimicking an adobe architectural pattern seen throughout the country. One our drivers had an exchange with a police officer that created a traffic jam. All I know is that our driver left the car, created another jam, and yelled at the officer to give him his license back. Bribe involved? I will never know!

Tallest building in Bamako

Tallest building in Bamako

We stopped for lunch at the Hotel l’Esplanade in Segou, a large town on the Niger River.

Lunch at Hotel l'Esplanade

Lunch at Hotel l'Esplanade

Right next to our hotel residents of Segou were washing their clothes with river water.

Cleaning at the Niger River bank at Segou

Cleaning at the Niger River bank at Segou

As we passed small towns on the roadside throughout the day on the only major paved road heading north, I noticed children running, sleepy towns with no one out, and extremely tiny mosques. These mosques reminded me of clapboard churches in rural northern Wisconsin or Minnesota, structures worn by time where tradition lingers in even the tiniest of places. Mali is the first place with a predominating architecture of this sort I have seen. (Other parts of East Africa where I have traveled or Ghana have distinctly different architecture.)

 

The charettes on the roadside always brought me a smile. One website defines charettes as “wooden carts pulled by sad, bony horses or donkeys.” Throughout the trip, charettes definitely outnumbered cars if I was to count the mode of transportation of people on the roads. Police and tolls were present on the highway, but we proceeded without incident. A good thing, because our passports were with a head tour guide to get a month-long visa which we couldn’t get before we left Bamako due to office closings for the holidays.

 

I learned from Jean that the granaries in the villages as seen from the side of the roads were granaries. Traditionally, they have to be filled before a man can marry additional wives.

 

We arrived in Sevare late at night and stayed at a quaint, clean, basic hotel, Auberge Canari, owned by a French woman (http://www.auberge-canari.com/ but I think the website hasn’t been established yet).

 

We slept well. The next day would be especially interesting: Dogon country, legendary to anthropologists.

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