Sunday, January 27, 2008

Le Rabelais

I thought it fitting to include a photo of the very fine hotel in Bamako that was "home base" before and after the trip.

Yes, the pool is as stunning as it looks. A nice moonlight light helps.

On those hot, dusty days after hours wandering the streets of Bamako, it was a most welcome sight, let me tell you.

No surprise, but I still find it intriguing how one's frame of reference can change so quickly.

I arrived in Bamako on December 21 close to midnight. It was a hazy evening, and after the craziness of the airport my taxi staggered through the streets in a somewhat drunken fashion, bobbing and weaving for no apparent reason. (Avoiding police/army checkpoints?) The Rabelais was shut up tight, however a key with my name on it was stuck on the board. The room seemed quite fine. The next day, the city seemed like many other third-world (esp. African) cities, if perhaps poorer: lots of noise, chaotic traffic mixing petrol fumes and animal carts, dirt and tarmacadam, commerce of some sort on every corner. But a "small" city, by capital standards. Not a lot of "conveniences"...restaurants, plush commerce and the like.

After a fortnight, oh what a difference. Bamako was simply worldly, a veritable centre of nightlife and cosmopolitan treats. And the Rabelais? A stunning five-star treat, with a room to match. :-)

While pleased to return home, I know I'll be clinging to that sense of appreciation - and wonderment - as long as possible.

Then again, isn't that why we go?


  1. Third world...mine is pretty, I'm sure we're going to the fourth one! and I'm linking it.... (no)
    Nice blog, I'll keep on reading about those places. Hope to visit them some day...
    (sorry, my english isn't the best...)

  2. Clinging to that wonderment and sense of awe and appreciation is indeed difficult once we return to the familiar, isn't it? It's one of the reasons I love to travel -- to get that feeling back again and once again try to hold on to it for a bit longer.



An inveterate traveler, who has explored all seven continents, Neil centres his freelance writing today on travel.
Published work includes travel writing in The Globe and Mail, The Toronto Star, The Buffalo News, Travel Scoop and The Wonderful World of Budget Travel. Featured destinations include: Toronto, Ontario; Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario; Amsterdam, Netherlands; Qufu, China; Oaxaca, Mexico; Jersey, Channel Islands; Trans-Siberian Express.
Neil’s photography focuses on finding images of the worlds he visits that capture the essence of “place”. Whether photographing landscapes, archaeological sites or locals, the goal is to make a picture emotive of what brought one there.
Photography has been published in Camera Canada, Foto Flash, Minolta Mirror and travel publications, as well as displayed at gallery exhibits in Toronto.