Arriving home to find our house had been burgled was a low point of the trip.
Everything gone. The camera, sound recorder, all our money and unfortunately the list goes on. Walking to the police office we noticed, for the first time, the sky was full of dark clouds and as Imran commented on the unusual weather a drop of rain fell to his nose. It seemed the first rains of our trip in West Africa had fallen.
But stuff is just stuff, our time here and on the rest of the trip has been fantastic, our encounters unique and the friends we have made will remain in our lives far into the future. For a moment we considered getting out of Mali as soon as our recording was finished, but that would be turning our backs on something so positive and leaving with clouds hanging over us.
But, we cannot change the fact that we have experienced a financial loss and of course the impact this has had on how safe we feel. These factors combined with a sense that if we continue to Kinshasa we may have to rush on the bicycles so much that we will actually miss seeing the countries we pass through, has led us to make a big decision.
In May we will return. We will fly home from Lagos where we have music contacts and a press passes for Sub-Saharan Africa’s exclusive performance of Fela!
So now with only a few months left and almost all of our valuables gone (except our bicycles
and the GPS!) we are actually feeling positive. We are ready for the next leg of the journey, but not ready to come home. It’s not quite time to say goodbye.
Posted in Equipment, Planning, Travel, Uncategorized
Tagged 'Bamako burglary', 'Bamako crime', Bamako, bicycle, burgled, clouds, mali, rain, robbery, travel
Days since we left- 89
Cheese triangles eaten- 148
Meals of Maffe- 31
Broken spokes- 3
Hours of lifetime lost to laundry- 9
Wells used- 23
‘Foster-Clarkes’ vitamin drinks- 24 (owing to the below statistics)
Senegalese vegetables consumed- 12 carrots
8 okra fingers
50 (ish) onions
Our bodyweight in potatoes
Orange faced and mud splattered we have reached Tambacounda where we have stopped for a day to catch up with the bores and chores of our little world. After some rather dusty terrain into the city we arrived to notice our bicycles were looking rather tango-ed. Thus a deep clean was in order for the bikes, panniers and most of all, us.
Imran managed todays cleaning operation, becoming something of an expert at wilderness bike maintainance. Without explanation he had informed me a few days earlier that he was ‘going out to find a piece of scrap metal with a few holes in it. See you later’.
A couple of spokes from his back wheel had broken on the bumpy road to Ziguinchor and we realised that both were on the mech side. This means that in order to change the spoke, we needed to remove the gear cassette, which requires a special key. With no alternative, this tiny piece of metal was DHLed to us, but we nearly lost hope when we realised we also needed a chainwhip.
As we began dreading the wait for another package, Imran got inspired to employ some local metalworkers to make this amazing tool.
Though I had become doubtful of his creative ideas I was proved wrong and his homemade chainwhip was pretty impressive.
Whilst Imran busied himself with bike jobs I found myself reluctantly discovery my domestic capabilities; handwashing our putrid clothes before repairing socks and sewing up the bedraggled guitar case.
But we are both feeling a renewed sense of energy for the journey ahead, a journey which in only a few days will see us cross the border from Senegal to Mali. It looks like it’s time to say goodbye to Senegal.
Posted in Cycling, Equipment, Planning
Tagged chain whip, chainwhip, cycle, DHL, domestic, guitar case, laundry, maintainance, mali, senegal, sewing, tambacounda