Archive for June, 2011

Filed Under (Random Photo of the Week) by Rob on 29-06-2011

A Malian ‘chemists’ shop – OUCH!!!

It’s interesting to observe these places. Their artwork is not disimilar to the hairdressing salons (blogged about here). However, what they offer is quite different indeed. Treatment for ‘hemorroids’, ‘faiblesse sexuelle’, back ache and some kind of cyst.

I’ve seen similar joints offering cures for malaria, asthma, even AIDS! Curious indeed! I love that this place’s name is ‘Resurrection’ – do they have medicines to raise the dead too?? At least it’s all 100% natural (and in 750ml doses)!

Meanwhile, I think I’ll stick to a conventional pharmacy, wouldn’t you??

Filed Under (General) by Rob on 25-06-2011

A Hummer like this one:

I remember seeing my first Hummer in West Africa a few years back – it was in Cotonou, Benin and was bright yellow. Then, a few months later, I saw a black one with tinted glass. For quite some time, these seemed to be the only two Hummers in the city.

Since moving to Bamako, I’ve seen somewhere in the region of a dozen Hummers, so maybe there’s something in the saying “Where there’s muck, there’s brass”!!

However, this particular Hummer caught my eye for a very BIG reason. Not because it was white, or nice and shiny, but rather because it was…





AMAZING! Who on earth is going to need – or even want – one of these here in Mali?! Presumably some rich folk with nothing better to do with their money! I’d like to see the window washing boys at the traffic lights tackle this baby!

I looked up other stretch Hummers on line and found this one, almost the same length but with one long window. I also came across this humungous beast of a limo, which has three pairs of wheels at the rear! Insane, but I’d happily take a ride in one if I ever got the chance – wouldn’t you?!?

Filed Under (Random Photo of the Week) by Rob on 22-06-2011

Some impressive-looking storm clouds in Jos, Nigeria:

Wow! Those are seriously three-dimentional, eh? The storm which followed put paid to our ‘scramble up the rocks’ which we’d planned for a Sunday afternoon. Not to worry – I think it was worth it for this photo!

Filed Under (Random Photo of the Week) by Rob on 08-06-2011

A brick kiln in Burundi.

“And that’s all I have to say about that!”

Filed Under (Things to do in Bamako) by Rob on 07-06-2011

Have some tasty icecream from the shop of the same name:

Yes, newly opened in Bamako, very close to the Fourmi supermarket and the bowling alley, is this icecream parlour. Here we are choosing our flavours (the place is nicely air-conditioned too, preventing premature melting of your icecream).

The biggest attraction for me, though, is the sheer range of choice: up to 36 different flavours, including passion fruit, apricot, bubble gum, strawberry, dark chocolate, caramel, mango, kiwi, pineapple, ‘blue’, papaya, and biscuit! Yum! Have a look:

Meanwhile the biggest drawback is the prices: no more than you’d pay in Europe, but still quite a lot compared with other places in town. 1000cfa for a cornet with one scoop is about £1.30 or $2 and if you have two scoops, it’s going to set you back £1.70 or $3!

Now, the Star petrol station next to Azar’s supermarket in Badalabougou sells ‘Mr Whippy’ icecreams for 250cfa a cone (yes, icecream at a gas station!!) and the yellow supermarket near ‘Handicap International’ in Badala has about six flavours at the same price. Even the Rabelais Hotel (best icecream in town until this place opened) is a bit cheaper, I think. Still, there’s nowhere I know of that has as many flavours, so it’s still worth visiting now and again (especially when the midday temperatures are still up to 37 Celsius!)

Bon Appétit!

Filed Under (Malian culture) by Rob on 03-06-2011

(Did you arleady know about this???)

I’ve never grown bananas before. In England, we grew beans, potatoes, carrots, courgettes…but never bananas!! That’s one of the advantages of living in a hot, tropical country like Mali! So, just over a year ago, I bought two banana plants for 1500 and 2000cfa respectively (that’s about £2 and £2.50). Here’s what they looked like then:

Once they’re planted, it’s all very easy: you just water them when they need it and watch ’em grow (very quickly indeed!) Within twelve months, the larger one grew from three feet to eight feet – just like that! Amazing! And then the bananas appeared and started to grow. Here they are at various stages of development (taken roughly in December, February, March and May):

Now, bearing in mind my initial investment of £2.50 (or $4), we recently harvested no fewer than 163 bananas from the one plant! That’s 1.5 pence per banana!! Wow! So, in the past couple of weeks, we’ve made banana icecream, banana cake, banoffee pie, banana chutney, bananas in chocolate…you name it. Just realized we haven’t done ‘banane flamée’ yet, but we still have a couple of dozen left for that.
Want to know more about growing banans?
Then visit which also has a great recipe page here.


Filed Under (Random Photo of the Week) by Rob on 01-06-2011

A goat doing a bit of ‘car-surfing’. Yeah – go goaty!