On the way to Bamako - we were pretty tired & hot, can you tell?
Over the course of 2 days, my friend Robin and I traveled by rickety, run-down bus on the hottest, dustiest ride I think either of us had ever experienced. Our journey began when we left Tambacounda and headed to Bamako
to stay with our friend for the remainder of the trip. This entry could easily be 5 pages long but I'll stick with my immediate thoughts in undertaking such a journey. 1) Africans are so much sturdier and more patient than we (as wimpy Americans) are. They don't complain when having to sit seemingly for no reason for hours at a random stop in the blistering 100+ degree heat. In fact, I noticed something I still can't comprehend; the men wear beanie hats, sweaters as a second layer and winter coats on top of this in that kind of heat! I would've been facing heat stroke in those conditions! Anyway, the lesson here is: REMAIN PATIENT! (It's a tough one but you really have no choice.) 2) Should you ever go this route, my friend's advice of 'bring a handkerchief' was invaluable. Mali is swiftly building a highway but at this point, there is still an hours long stretch of unpaved dusty road you go on during this ride. Dampen that handkerchief with water and tie it over your nose and mouth. It will help in a big way! 3) At every stop, do WHATEVER IT TAKES to get more water. I made the mistake of letting language barriers impede me from this and spent a lot of the time parched. I've since taken a course in French and will be prepared to beg for 'l'eau'. 4) Bring something to sleep on. This trip has an overnight stop. Of course all of the Africans knew this and brought mats to sleep on the ground on. Us silly Americans had to find a sturdy bench to perch ourselves on and try not to fall off to catch a few zzz's. It's amazing what you can do when you are tired enough. Okay, there is much, much more but I'll edit and add it later.