After Timbuktu, we hiked in Dogon Country. Lonely Planet calls it “an experience that borders on the divine” and “like taking a toke of I and I Jah’s own kind buds using the Heraclitean fire as a lighter” or something to that effect.
It was nice but not spectacular. Basically it is a bunch of villages beneath, on top of
and on the face of a huge escarpment that looks like it could be in
the Southwest United States. The villagers look like other Malians and the villages themselves only hold a finite amount of interest. We had better hiking in Guinea and we didn’t want to pay them to se a “traditional” dance.

We had been looking forward to that hiking for almost the whole trip. After that disappointment we returned back to Bamako. We had dinner again at Soukothai, the best restaurant, perhaps, in all of West Africa. Certainly the best Thai food on the continent.

Andrew left early to fly back to the U.S. to take care of some business.

I went from Bamako to Dakar after being forced to buy another ticket for my Ethiopian Airlines flight. The Bamako airport, in case you couldn’t guess, sucks. I’m normally not so harsh nor blunt, but there you have it. Imagine an airport that sucks and that’s what it was like.

At least, I got out of there to Dakar. I enjoyed it the second time around. The hotel I stayed in was quite nice and cheaper than the other “midrange” place we stayed in last time. The next day I walked over to a patisserie that was very, very nice, but had no seats, so I couldn’t stay there. It smelled delicious and I got a pain chocolate for the next morning.

The next day I ate at the amazing restaurant of the French Cultural Center. It was the nicest, but not necessarily most expensive, place I had eaten at in Africa.

Then I took the ferry to Goree island, which is famous for its connection to the slave trade. I walked around some, but didn’t feel the whole “witness the horros of slavery” vibe. The place was too pretty and cheerful with its multicolored historical buildings. Lonely Planet says that not many slaves ever passed through there anyway.

I grabbed the local bus towards the airport- a long, hard, sweaty ride. Got off to buy a beer at a most accommodating supermarket that gave me a chair in which to sit while drinking said beer. Then I took a shared cab the rest of the way to the airport with a guy who helped me change money illegally (through one of the moneychanging guys standing outside rather than the change bereau) and then turned out to be a police officer working the security checkpoint.

FInally, I boarded the plane and left West Africa for good.

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