Archive for September, 2010

Filed Under (Things to do in Bamako) by Rob on 27-09-2010

Go and see a man upon a horse!

Yes, it’s a fun outing to the monument and a steep but short climb to the top of the hill. From the top, you get an impressive view of the valley and the Bamako suburbs.

We took a small picnic and sat under the horse’s front legs for shade. Also, the kids can climb on part of the horse (though only on the right side, as there is a sheer drop to the left!)

To get there, head south over the New Bridge from the airport side, and then turn Westwards, over the ‘echangeur’ and onto the new road towards Guinea. When this road comes to a major junction (with a couple of petrol stations) head straight across, pass some cliffs to your left, and then turn left. From there, it’s a few clicks on a dirt road, so a 4×4 is advised!

Best way to locate it is to look at Tim’s famous Bamako Map. Here you go:

View Tim’s Bamako map in a larger map

I’ve no idea what it commemorates or why it is in such an obscure location where few people pass, but there you go! Of course, if you like equine monuments, you could also check out this one, at the Hippodrome in Bamako as well as this one, of a ‘river horse’!!

Happy horse-spotting!

Filed Under (Ethnomusicology) by Rob on 20-09-2010

My feet have scarcely touched the ground since May, so only now am I actually writing about GCoMM, which happened in July in Singapore…

GCoMM stands for ‘The Global Consultation on Music and Missions’, although many other art forms (dance, drama etc) are also covered. It is a great opportunity for folks like myself to gather together with like-minded individuals for meetings, worship sessions and general brainstorming. I also gave a paper based on my thesis discoveries.

Still, enough from me; I could never describe the happenings of GCoMM in as much detail or flair as my old mate George Luke, who was there too. Here we are enjoying a coffee together at one of Singapore’s many shopping centres:

We also enjoyed a curry and some rather unusual icecream together, but I’ll let George (a jounalist and altogether nice bloke from London) tell you all about it.

Have a look at the three reports below – well worth a read:

George’s GCoMM article, Part I
George’s GCoMM article, Part II
George’s GCoMM article, Part III

Filed Under (Malian culture) by Rob on 09-09-2010

…for the dyslexic?!?

This made me laugh! Africa is riddled with ‘knock offs’ of various shapes and sizes: the fake Rolex, the ‘Bennelton’ designer t-shirts, Nike trainers, Ralph Lauren, Kappar, Sony, you name it! However, this one must’ve been devised by an anagram specialist – all the letters are there, but (in the words of Eric Morecombe) not necessarily in the right order!!

It’s all the more amusing for the fact that it also has a ‘Calvin Klein’ badge on the same bag!! In fact, Timberland don’t even make a bag like this (as far as I can see). The closest I found is this one (a ‘diaper bag’!)

More ‘spelling fun’ in Africa soon…

Filed Under (Things to do in Bamako) by Rob on 06-09-2010

(Things to do in Bamako no.8)

Yes, I came to Bamako a year ago knowing that I may have to go for three years without eating my favourite food! However, this weekend, that all changed!

(From left to right: chicken tikka massala, mutton bhuna, butter chicken and a veg biryani at the back)

Yes, the ‘Namastae India’ restaurant just opened in Niarela, Bamako, next to the Hotel Dafina. (Click here to view the restaurant’s location on Tim’s Bamako Map). Delicious food and a pleasant, air-conditioned restaurant. Bit pricey, but no more than you’d pay in the UK.

Of course, we were familiar with this food for two reasons: not only do we know Indian food well from the UK (where it has a similar status to Mexican in the US) but we also know the owner! Jacky has had a restaurant in Cotonou for many years, and we ate there several times (even had a Birthday Curry there in 2005!) So, it was great to meet up with the man again (who, incidentally, also has a restaurant in Dakar, Senegal, and is planning on opening one in Ouagadougou too).

Here’s a sneak preview of the menu:

And here are a couple more restaurant pics for you:

So, what are you waiting for? Get yourself over to the Namastae for a delicious RUBY MURRAY!!!

Filed Under (Malian culture) by Rob on 01-09-2010

As soon as rainy season begins, the mosquitoes start to breed in the standing water and love all the damp earth in our garden!

In fact, there must be as many as several thousand of the wee beasties in our yard at times: I only have to poke a square foot of earth with a stick and 50 or so fly out! Thankfully, most of them don’t make it into the house because of the screens on all our windows and doors. Nevertheless, I’m killing between 5 and 20 a day indoors, mostly thanks to my mosquito-electricuting racket (like this one I blogged about in Benin).

But fear not! Help is at hand!
“There’s something strange in your neighbourhood,
Who you gonna call? Mozzie-busters!”

Or, more acurately, Mr Coulibaly and his mate with their amazing bug-busting sprayer! He charges 15,000cfa to do the whole garden (about $30) but it’s worth it to keep the mozzies at bay, not to mention the malaria risk. So we shut all our windows and leave the house for a couple of hours and he gets to work.

For about a week after his visit, we have virtually no mosquitos, then they slowly start returning. Ideally, we should have him come every month, but this works out a bit pricey (and a tad inconvenient), but we do call him in 2 or 3 times during rainy season. If you’d like his services and you live in Bamako, I can send you his number (as looking up ‘Coulibaly’ in a phone book would be like looking for Mr Smith in England!)

Other blog posts on mosquitos here.