“Yes, yes! It’s a beautiful and modern house, much better than these houses!”, he gestured to the homes that stood behind him.
“Ok, can we have a look inside?”
“Well no, I don’t have the key.”
As we began to grow uncomfortably accustomed to the ways of the Malian estate agent, we had sighed and waited for his moped riding cousin to arrive with the keys. We eventually looked around the flat with its lovely balcony overlooking the road. Beyond the road was a dark expanse (we only made it by evening time), I assumed this was a field or some rocks.
“It might be a huge rubbish heap,” joked Mikaela.
Returning by daylight the following morning we found that it was indeed a huge rubbish heap.
Becoming frustrated, we wandered the streets hoping that a chance encounter with a shop owner might lead us to an empty apartment (which we were beginning to suspect was the modus operandi of the estate agents we were having to pay per viewing).
“You have to get used to the local colours” Amkoullel had offered the previous evening. As we sat in the tiny room of an underground bar we had tried to make sense of the sound system cranked up on full volume and realised there was still some distance to make before we could feel at home in Bamako.
The extreme reverb, the delay effects and of course the volume levels…
Only that morning Mikaela had once again woken up with the black clouds of her grumpy homesick mood hanging over both of us and now Amkoullel’s words rang in our ears as loud as the evenings musical entertainment. We just had to get used to the local colours of Bamako.
Laughing Amkoullel turned to us once more and with the wisdom only he can sprinkle on a sentence added, “You won’t be growing old with good ears if you come here everynight…”.
From its manic traffic to the extreme sound of its live music, Bamako has an exhausting energy and the only way for us to love this city is to match that energy, with the same colourful smile that it always seems to offer us.