Stranded at the Butchers Shop

On our last day in The Gambia, I thought it might be a great idea to rent bicycles. The advantages were two-fold. First, we’d get to see a lot more of the Atlantic Coast. Second, we’d be able to outrun the hordes of touts trying to devise ways to relieve us of our hard-earned dalasis.Read more

Crikey, I touched a crocodile

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“Have you met Charlie?” came the call from one of the “tour guides” in the village of Bakau, just down the street from our hotel. We were being chased down by one of a hundred tout we’ve been avoiding. “I am an official tour guide, but I was just on my way from the mosqueRead more

Getting away from it all is not as easy as you think

Ah! We have reached the promise land — the smiling coast, otherwise known as the Gambia. We have come for the relaxing walks on the beach, the sunshine and the refreshing dips in the resort pools, a place to relax after a long two weeks in the interior of Africa.  We’ve come to the wrongRead more

The answer is “maybe.”

Anything is possible in Africa, or so everyone says. The same is true for acquiring a Gambian visa at the land borders between Senegal and The Gambia. Throughout the trip-planning process, we were receiving conflicting information. The U.S. State Department website states the fee for a five-year visa is $100, acquired in advance of aRead more

24 Hours in Timbuktu

We have arrived in Timbuktu, the city in the sand. To get there, we boarded a 19-seater prop plane in Mopti, along with a group of travel agents from Europe on a fam trip, and we instantly felt like we were back in the American Midwest. There was some Jimmy Buffet being piped into theRead more

Three Days in Dogon Country

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I am sitting in a room watching a Dogon funeral celebration taking place in the village of Banani on national television. The hunters of the village are running around in the fields shooting off their guns, while people sing. The Dogon staff at Mac’s Refuge, where I’ve been staying, are commenting that they recognize theRead more

From the back of a truck

Including me and Jennifer, there are 23 people crammed into a covered pick-up truck making its way between the village of Sevare and Mopti in the center of Mali. Thank goodness it’s only seven miles until we get off. We’re both squished on a hard wooden seat that lines the perimeter of the truck. JenniferRead more

Letter Home

Africa is proving to be more expensive than we originally thought, so Jennifer and I have come up with an exciting offer that we will send to everyone in our contact list later this week. We had plenty of time to compose the letter while we were on a 10-hour bus ride from Bamako toRead more

A bipolar day

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What a difference a few hours, hundreds of miles, and another country make. We awoke this morning for an early-morning flight to Bamako, the capital of Mali. If it wasn’t bad enough that we were up and dressed by 5am, the taxi driver waiting for us outside the hotel in the darkness appeared to beRead more

A rose by any other name

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Today, we escaped the city and headed to Lac Rose (aka Rose Lake or Lac Retba), most well known for its magic trick. At certain times, under certain conditions, it appears as if it is pink. I think it has something to do with its high salt content, which is higher than the ocean’s.Read more

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