Sunday, March 27, 2011

Lazy Weekend

I was looking at an entire weekend without motion. Longer, given that I had to turn my passport in at the Nigerian Embassy on Monday, pick it up on Tuesday, and then go see what the Embassy of Ghana had to say about their new visa policies.

I wasn't really at loose ends though. I was in a classic backpacker's lodge, which means there were plenty of other travelers to shoot the breeze with. It was almost distracting, given how much work I had to do and how enticing sitting down and chatting was.

Over the next few days, I got a mani/pedi, shopped for road snacks (snacking stops me from vomiting from dehydration), went around the corner to a Lebanese hairdresser and got perfectly matched color. Perhaps it helps that Paola, my colorist at home, wrote out my formula for me and I was carrying it around. Maybe it's true what they say about the Lebanese making good hairdressers. Certainly, I've been to one in Kuwait, one in Cairo, and now one in Bamako, and they were all pretty good.

I also spent afternoons at Amandine, a patisserie and juice hotspot down the street from Sleeping Camel. They had inexpensive shwarma, which kept me from being hungry all the time (my usual status on the road). My first day there, a German man walked right up and asked me out for a beer. Stunned, I just said "No."

It worked.

And Amandine had an attached ATM, which belonged to Banque Atlantique. And took my CIRRUS card! This is great...ATM cards with Mastercard logos on them don't normally work in Mali, but I used mine at Banque Atlantique branches for days. I had about a fifty percent success rate, and only in French. If I choose the "English" button, the screen would go blank. The fifty percent of the time the machine didn't work, it was either out of money or just plain broken. The moral is: Don't ever let your funds get down to fumes.

I was being lazy and everything was going swimmingly as I made laborious progress on my various projects, until the power cut off on Sunday. I went to Amandine, ordered a double espresso and a glass of ice (one must make do when it's over 100 degrees out and the menu doesn't feature iced coffee), and then eventually Amandine's wi-fi went out, so I went back to Sleeping Camel and learned the power was still out.
And it's hot in Mali. 

So I went to the National Museum. Bill recommended it. Culture and air conditioning! 

Sign me up.

It even had a brontosaurus.

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