Bamako, Mali is one of very few areas in Mali that’s safe to visit right now. The north and east are involved in tribal conflicts. The famous Timbuktu is a strict no-go. This limited where I could visit and turned Mali into basically a short trip to the capital, since nothing else is possible right now.
I arrived early in the morning and had a flight leaving just after midnight. It was a day trip. I checked in my backpack on my flight and then “forgot” it at the airport baggage claim, going into the city to explore without having to lug it around.
My first stop was something highly recommended on Trip Advisor. Asked the taxi driver to take me there and he had absolutely no clue what I was talking about. I guess the cathedral isn’t as famous as I’d thought.
There was a wedding going on, so I didn’t go in or linger.
I walked past some great sights and sites, over to the old telephone & telegraph headquarters.
From here, I walked to the central train station. There used to be a train through all of the Frnech colonies, linking them together for commerce and building project workers/supplies. This is the Bamako train station that’s now abandoned.
“Soon” has been the description of when the train will start running again for many years now.
It clearly used to be really busy, but it’s now a shell of its former self.
Walking over toward the central mosque, I saw this guy taking the paver stones used to cover the drainage ditch at the side of the road.
I tried all 3 entrances to the mosque and was told white people aren’t allowed at all 3 of them. This was the first time in my wife I’d ever been told this. It was odd and surprising but gave me a lot of time to think about the people who experience this daily in other areas much more important than my photos.
From here, I walked through one of the crazies, wildest, biggest, most insane markets I’ve ever seen. Because it was so packed and in such a poor country (one of the poorest in all of Africa), I didn’t take out my phone to get pictures, but it was insane.
From here, I walked past the independence monument.
There are no vegetarian restaurants in Mali. In fact, before going, I read that the concept is very strange to them. In really poor areas, people marvel at the idea of saying no to food. It makes sense.
Ever the savior of wandering vegans, I searched for Indian and Chinese restaurants. I found a Thai place and went there. I was THE ONLY person. They were actually surprised to have a customer. It made me wonder how they stay in business.
From here, I walked around pretty aimlessly.
There are some amazing murals along the roadways.
I killed the afternoon and then went to the airport at night. I went to the lost luggage office, found my backpack in a pile with other items, and showed my ID to claim it.
I checked in and prepared for my flight to Algiers, the capital of Algeria.
Whenever the conflicts in the north calm down and permit travel to Timbuktu, I’ll head back to Mali. Until then, short and sweet in the capital for a day, which was sufficient.This entry was posted in Africa, Bamako, Mali