Saturday, August 28, 2010

Gorée Island.



F
rom the Renaissance monument, we headed back towards the city to the terminal where we would catch the ferry to Gorée Island.

Views of Dakar.

Just as we were wrapping up eating, the "restaurant girl" came over to tell us that someone was waiting in the lobby for us. One last sip of coffee and we were on our way. Standing next to the reception desk was a young Senegalese man who introduced himself as *Cher-kh*....at least that's what it sounded like phonetically. Later on I found out that it is the proper pronunciation for the name "Cheikh" which is a fairly common name in this part of the word.

Good morning Dakar!

Talibah and I landed in Dakar at 5am this morning....an hour earlier than our itinerary had said we would arrive. We made it through immigration with ease and our luggage arrived in one piece. We passed through Immigration and then exited the airport following the security officer's instructions on where to find a taxi. The heat and humidity hit me immediately as I walked outside. Ugh!

Friday, August 27, 2010

....and we're off!!

M
onths of planning are over and I'm minutes from leaving my office and getting into a cab headed for Dulles Airport. Destination? Dakar, Senegal!

In case you'r wondering, the photo for this posting is of the Wright Brothers plane....it's not what we'll be flying to Senegal in. No, we'll be jetting over in Business Class of a very modern airplane. Comfy :-)

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Where the Niger and Bani meet. Mopti.

Mopti ("Mo-tee") is a Malian town located at the confluence of the Niger River and its tributary, the Bani River. The city consists of three islands linked by dykes: the New Town, the Old Town and Medina Coura. Originally, a small fishing village, Mopti has grown over time into Mali's most important port.


Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Mali. Plan B. The Adventure Begins!

Yesterday, I came to the conclusion that I will not be going to Timbuktu out of concern for my personal safety. So today, I emailed the tour agent (Sinamory Coulibaly with West Africa Travel Tours) with whom I have been working with to plan my week long trip through Mali, to say that I need to completely revamp my itinerary.  A short while later, Sinamory emailed me the following travel plan. My initial reaction was not a positive one as I only recognized the names of a handful of the places.  Where the hell am I going?  Plus, it's a trekking tour - I'll be walking across Dogon country! But, the more I thought about it, the more excited I got cause it's going to really take me "off the beaten path" and I'll really get to see and experience Malian village life. I have to admit that that intrigues me. I still have to work out some details with Sinamory but it looks like this will be Plan B.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

The XOF and the IMF. Who knew?

The Communuate Financiere Africaine Franc, otherwise known as the CFA Franc (XOF) is the common currency of 14 African countries which are members of the Franc Zone -

Benin, Burkina, Côte d'Ivoire, Guinea Bissau, Mali, Niger, Senegal and Togo whose common central bank is the Central Bank of West African States (BCEAO)

Friday, August 13, 2010

Talibah's coming with me!!

girlfriends having cocktails
by  siobhan gately
M
y colleague, Talibah, is coming on the mission to Mali with me. Originally, we were going to be travelling separately. She was going to fly from DC to Mali via Paris and I was headed to Mali via Senegal. She's now decided to go the same route as I am so we'll be travelling together to Mali, stooping over in Senegal.  I'm so excited that she's decided to come with!!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Hurray for Bollywood!


Okay, I admit it. I'm a Bollywood fan and I'm totally in to the cheesy, stereotypical Bollywood films.  No deep, intellectual story lines for me that would challenge my beliefs or ethics or whatever.  I like the movies that have the *lightweight* yet melodramatic story lines like rich girl meets poor boy from the other side of the tracks. They fall in love against the objections of their parents. 

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Working out the details. A Big Checklist!

With my travel itinerary finally nailed down, I can now shift my focus to working out all the other trip details and with two back-to-back trips to plan for, there are a LOT of details! 

I really hate to be unprepared and I don't want to forget anything important so I can't live without a checklst of some sort.

This posting serves as the checklist of things I need to do for both the trip to Mali and Senegal and the one to India and Bhutan.