Some time has now passed since my last footsteps in Africa yet the one man travel plan lives on as I try to write up my experiences and hone my travel writing talents with the aim of publishing and funding more odessies of curiosity.

As well as the writing side I am organsing exhibitions of photgraphs and paintings from my trip, partly for their asthetic beauty and partly so I can share and hopefully inform people about some lesser known parts of the world.

And then there is always the next trip... the journey never ends.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Across the sand sea lies the mighty Niger river and many a forgotten kingdom

Loading up boats on the Niger

Young workers wait for more heavy loads ( towels on heads to cushion the weight ), they look to me like their considering strike

Hanging out with the boat workers was a pleasure

Commerce on the Niger is a colourful and ancient institution

The captain and skipper

The sky was immense, the water immense, a magical ethereal world where the banks hung in the middle like surreal floating islands

Hoards of small boats sidled up to our pinasse to sell fish and fried snacks

Looking from our pinnasse to another loaded up with colourful mattresses

Zebu cattle by the banks

A wall of fire, the sunsets defy belief

I know its a tired cliche but the sunsets really are different, the sun nearer the equator is huge. The flat riverine lanscape provides lots of sky and water to act as the largest of stages for a nightly show

Sail boats! Technology from across the ages

This was a long thin village on a long thin island, on Lac Degbo where the Niger spreads out like a mini sea

One a Mali's many iconic mosques, Mopti

Hand Hand made coal braziers and other essential cooking utensils

Beautiful otherworldly streets in Djenne

Masks with a grace and style that seems to speak to you

People washing in less than clean pools of the drying up Bani river, Djenne

Djenne has many Moroccan style windows

The famous and striking mosque in Djeene is the largest mud building in the world

Ive still lots more to write here, but it is slowly being updated

I’m writing this in the pleasant riverside city of Segou. Today was amazing after breakfast I was invited to see how Millet beer is made and to taste some (it’s rather sharp, a definite home brew taste). Then I got invited to visit old Segou 10 kilometres away. It was amazing exotic and alien the soudanic style mud buildings from Mars but the people very much down to earth.

The above piece was written a few weeks ago on a painfully slow connection, Id uploaded a load of photos but they decided not stay put. Since then I’ve either had no time or been a long way from the nearest computer. So I’m putting this out just to publish something if only small. When I get time I’ve lots to write about from a magical boat trip on the Niger, to staying with the Tuareg in the desert north of Timbukto or visiting the amazing world of the Dogon people. So lots more to come.

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