Sorry about that last entry... I was in a pretty bad mood from the heat and exhaustion and some bad news from home. I ended up having a pretty good week in Burkina and regretted having been so negative when I wrote. Not to say any of it wasn't true, just that things aren't so bad here... at least not in Burkina. This connection is horrible, so I'm going to be sparse on the details, but I spent two nice days in Ouaga, which is quite possibly the most boring capital city in the world, but pleasant nonetheless. Then we had a whirlwind trip to the northeast, where we stopped in the tiny town of Bani to see the seven mosques there and got caught in a huge sandstorm that was pretty cool once we got inside and could watch through the window. next day was the market at gorom gorom, which had all different tribes attending in their various traditional attire, but has been ruined by tourism and isn't what it once was, and now they even charge a "tourist tax"; ie a white person tax; on any whites who enter the town - you are directed immediately to the police to pay. oops; times almost up... so next was Bobo; which was very nice - we saw a lake full of hippos; mostly just their noses and ears but every once in a while one would do a backflip or something. it felt a little like whack a mole trying to get a picture of it, and most of them just ended up being the noses. then we saw a little village built into the rocks on top of a mountain; and there they were having a harvest festival and they were running around in huge fetish costumes looking like cousin It made out of grass. so that was interesting. we rented a motorcycle to go to these places and got a flat tire; so that was an adventure in itself. anyway, lots of stories for later. then the next day we saw the old district of Bobo, were cursed out by a guide when we declined his services, got caught in a crazy storm, and then I said goodbye to Adrien and took a 14 hour extremely uncomfortable bus ride to Mali.
Turns out Mali is a horrible place, overrun with guides, and everyone who isn't a guide has a hotel or a souvenir to sell. I have never been harassed so much in my entire life. The ancient city of djenne was interesting, but after I looked around I was stuck in my hotel room because there were literally 25 guides sitting outside like vultures waiting for me to come out to sell me tours to timbuktu. then the guy at my hotel tried to get me into bed, so I left early in the morning; with guides yelling at me through the windows of the bus till I got far enough away they had to leave. and now I'm in mopti, where I got conned already by a crazy guide high on marijuana; whose pants kept falling off and who got in a fist fight when we got back over paying the people rowing the boat; and I got yelled at on the street and should have gone to the police to report the whole thing because I almost got pulled into the fight too, but I couldnt face explaining what happened in french; and I was in no state to talk to anyone. I've come this far and I intend to make it to timbuktu, but I wouldn't recommend anyone to come to mali, and if you do, do it with someone else and during the tourist season, so you aren't the only target. well, so again I write you when I'm in a bad mood. it's very interesting here and I wouldn't take any of it back; but it's very difficult at times. ok; my hour is up here. talk to you soon... kim