Here’s a bit from my journal about our bus ride back to Bamako:
Ozzie helped us flag down a transport bus on the main road this afternoon, and we headed back to Bamako. It was probably once a nice bus with A/C and posh seats. This country is not kind to anything clean or nice. We got loaded into 2 of the last available seats at the back of the bus. There were all sorts of people on the bus–mothers with crying babies, old men, I heard chickens under seats and the man in the back seat had a dog in a box that kept whimpering. Someone had thrown up in the aisle, which we had to step over. People had bags and goods and wares filling all the spaces. I sat next to a quiet young girl who was trying to watch the TV way up at the front (we had a speaker right over our heads). It was a very dramatic Malian TV program with lots of yelling and fighting and a bewitching girl with long straight hair, the dream of every girl here.
We had water bottles and we endured a 2 hour drive over speed bumps and stopping here and there to let people on and off. At some stops, vendors came on the bus selling things like sweet breads, hard boiled eggs or water pouches.
The first hour of the trip, we had a salesman on the bus who was trying to sell his wares. He started with bottles of a green potion that he was spraying on his head, his neck, his throat, in his mouth, and on his stomach. A cure-all. Then he went up and down the aisles spraying it on who ever wanted some. It smelled like menthol. John said, “He must be from doTERRA!” Then he had little pouches of a powder and he’d give the sales pitch, then go up and down the aisles, putting spoonfuls of the powder in people’s palms and they’d lick it up. No one bought any of those things. Then he had bars of soap and tubes of aloe vera. He finally sat down or went away or got off or something. I think he sold a couple of bars of soap.
We got into Bamako at about 4:00 and were dropped off at the place where the busses turn around to go south again. It was a crazy dirty place. We stepped off the bus by a vendor that had some animal skins on the ground that looked like cats, newly killed.
The whole trip, I watched out the window, wishing there were a way to capture this country and the sights here. It’s really unbelievable. I saw things like a large old bus filled floor to ceiling with flattened cow hides, by the hundreds. There were semi trailers piled beyond anything safe with bags of coal from the coal fields where they burn the wood. There were huge trucks filled with long-horned Brahma bulls. The main road is lined with people trying to sell things and shops and dead cars and mechanics and fruit stands and it’s all hot, tired and dirty.
Then we hailed a taxi for the ride home. The cost of the ride from Ouelessebougou was 2,000 cfa each = about $3.25 each. The ride from the bus to home was the same price for both of us, together– 2,000. Not bad for that much driving today.
We were happy to be home in our clean pleasant place.
Here are a few photos I took out the window as we went along the way today. As you see the shade trees and umbrella stands, you get a feeling for just how important SHADE is in a hot country like this!
Dead cats below?
This is the “cool” season here. It’s only around 100 degrees every day. This “nice” weather will last for a couple of more months, then we move into the “hot” season.