Where am I?

Created this blog to document my travels, experiences & thoughts thru Central & South America but hell plan to blog my travels to where ever. Goofy harmless Free Spirit hoping to spend most of my time with locals & enjoy the world! So hang on as I travel, drink cervezas, raise a little hell, maybe piss off a few people & hopefully not give Canadians a bad reputation! Of course don't do these things on purpose but while having a good time well "Shit Happens"!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Well Mali I can now say "bin dar dun dat" so it's time to leave & head to the Middle East to see what kind of shit I will get into there!

So yeah as the old song says "I'm leaving on a Jet Plane, don't know when I'm coming back".

Well I got to see what I came to West Africa for the past 2 months of travelling; Saw and visited Timbucktoo along with places like Dogan Country and D\Jenni. I also got to visit a few other countries and places coming here too. I met 3 French {actually 1 French guy Shelie sp?; a Belgium Bert and an English chick Heidi who were all nice guys and enjoyed hanging with them} driving a car to Guinea and caught a ride with them for a couple days thru Mauritania and Senegal. I got to meet Bruno and Adrian the 2 Swiss dudes driving to South Africa. They have a travel blog
www.afrika-erfahren.ch which u might want to visit to check out about driving thru Africa. It’s a bit better put together than mine but like I don’t give a shit what mine looks like cus all I’m trying to is keep a journal of my travels. Plus so my family and friends can read where I am, it’s not to impress anyone with my computer skills in putting together a nice presentable website, Shit for a guy who made a living in 6 countries in software development well my computer skills have deteroriated to next to nothing, but do I care. Shit No!

I had more trouble understanding French here in West Africa than I did Spanish while travelling thru Mexico, Central and South America last u year! So after leqrning a little Spanglish last year as I kept stumbling over that language. So this year trying to use French well I kept saying Si instead of Oui, Hola instead of Bonjour, etc. So much for learning Frenglish or as some may say my Frenapense
glish as I kept being called Japanese; but regardless it has a long way to go to be understood! But do I care or even try to learn French {sorry but no offence to all my great French friends}, fuck no as languages aren’t my think plus who cares as long as I make it thru these countries.

I won’t lie as I like East Africa more than West Africa and it’s not only cus of being able to communicate in English in East Africa and not French in West Africa. I just find the people in East Africa a bit more friendly and hospitable than in West Africa but OK that may have been due to the language. But in East Africa I didn’t get the feeling that the people were all out to scam or get money off me! I take that back as they were but at least they were less oblvious in their approach!

I was volunteered in a small village in Western Kenya until I sent an out spoken email to the organization questioning things. So that pretty much ended my volunteering gig as I was asked to leave/fired. You can check out my experiences there on my blog http://projectskenya.blogspot.com/ Some of the postings you first read were added after my volunteering gig. But as you read down thru the months you will get a better idea of the life and my stay in Kenya; Tanzania and Uganda:

There are some observation of Mali which I would like to remember in a year or 2. The main language spoken here is French which I don't know and probably won't learn cus I'm bad at languages but if I were to try and learn any language it would be Spanish. Cus I like the language while travelled thru Latin countries last year. Hey I'm Japanese descent but haven t made any attempt to learn it either cus can only use it in Japan.

But in my travels in Mali I met a few English speaking people who learned English so they could either guide, drive or sell me something! But all of them were guys as can t say I ever spoke to any English speaking girls which is strange but not a regret. I got a lot of strange stares by kids but that's to be expected cus they don't know better. But shit the adults also don't seem to know better or are pretty ignorant and uneducated too! They would stop me or yell at me on the street " Hey Japan" or use a one line phrase they learn from some Japanese tourist. When I volunteered in Kenya and travelled in Uganda and Tanzania for 5 months 2 years ago well I don t recall that ever happening to me. So like why do they all care where I came from,? Hell if they came to Canada would anyone stop them on the street to ask them where they come from or yell Africa? I realize they're mostly uneducated so it go to the point where I didn't even acknowledge them. At first I d tell people that I was born and live in Canada but of Japanese descent. Then they'd ask do u live in Japan? So I'd try to correct them but what the hell s the point. In most countries and East Africa no one asked unless I got to know a person and the conversation got around to that subject.

I must say that I can't wait to eat something other than spaghetti washed down by a soft drink like here! Maybe it's me but I can't find any variety in the food sold. Shit I have no idea what the main food the Mali people eat. I eat spaghetti at the street vendors, Dogan Country and even the vegetarian restuarant that I went to my first day in Bamako.

One thing that would have made my travel easier in Mali were if buses had windows that opened and not just roof vents that open. Shit try sitting on a bus for 10 hours squeezed between 2 big hefty Mamma Africas; that ain t pretty or relaxing.....

Hey I'm not down on Mali as I think the people are generally friendly and happy people. Mali is safe as I've never felt a need to be aware of my surroundings! I would have thought with all the poverty that there would be more thefts and problems.

My only regret is I didn’t come during cooler weather cus it's dam hot and dusty. Hell I've lived in some hot places like Saudi Arabia and Oman plus Australia can be dam hot too. I’ve travelled thru India, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Kuwait, Jordan, Dubai, S. E. Asia, Central America, etc. so been thru some heat. But I’ve to say that Mali's lack of infrastructure and sad living standard definitely magnifies the heat and dust! I’d say that Bamako; the capital city; is not a pretty city to live or even visit in the heat, dust and pollution from cars, motor bikes, trucks, buses, etc which all add to the over all heat. Then periodically the power goes off for a period which doesn’t help cus I rely on my ceiling fan to provide some relief from the heat or at least move the friggin hot air around so it makes me feel a bit cooler. I’ve been in Bamako for 5 days; this second stint; waiting until I catch my flight for Tunisia. So I’ve decided to just stay by staying inside the dorm room with the fan on. So I ve got the ceiling fan and also this old table fan blowing air from the side. But when the electricity goes off well it’s murder. I go outside and hang in the shade just waiting for the power to come back on. The fan also keeps the bugs and mosquitos off me as I’m really allergic to their fuckin bites.It rained one night so I thought it was the start of the rainy season but it hasn t rained again. All the people here look forward to the rainy season cus it cools down. But fuck I can just imagine dragging my ass thru all the slimy shitty filthy sewer water after a massive rain. Cus thre s so much shit laying around that it s going to be like a friggin cesspool, ugh: So it s going to be which is better the hot; dry dusty air or a cesspool with rats the size of squirrels.

One thing I’ve got are heat rashes from my sweaty body rubbing against my clothes. So I try to sit around on my bed in as little clothes as is morally allowable, cus didn t I say that I’m staying in a Catholic Mission run by Nuns! They don’t come in to the men’s dorm very often but yesterday one did to show a guy the room and almost freaked when she saw me sitting in my under shorts on my bed working on my lap top. But what the hell it’s the coolest way to be plus I’m on the upper bunk cus it’s the closest place to the ceiling fan. I’ve got the old table fan sitting on top of 2 sets of drawers so it’s even with my bunk! So u could say I’m trying to make do under some unbearable temperatures! There’s this French chick who s been staying here (not in my dorm}since I originally came to Bamako and is still here. She is volunteering with some NGO but has been looking pretty sick lately as she’s been laying on a cot outside. She can’t speak much English and I can’t speak much French so all I know is she is sick and can’t handle the temperature! So other than her and I there have just been a few other travelers staying a night or so at the Mission.

It s definitely the heat and corresponding dust and pollution which bother me here. I ve had to resort to a face mask to keep the pollution from bothering me. I also had to go to the Pharmacy and get some medication for a bit of asthma which I've never experienced before. I've also taken throat losengers to ease the coughing and flem in my throat. All this helped me reach my decision to by pass going further south to Bakino Faso, Ghana and other West Africa countries on this trip. Although granted the other countries may be more humid and not dry and dusty. I'm not a fair weather traveller as it may sound but a Free Spirit idiot so I go where I enjoy myself. So shit if I'm not going to enjoy something then I''m not going there that's it!

Matter of fact when I returned from Timbucktoo and my hike thru Dogan Country well I was feeling a bit sickly too from a bit of heat stroke! So I basically dropped my stuff and crawled into bed for a couple days. There was this guy from France of Sengalese descent who works in London staying in my dorm with me. We chatted a couple times and he seemed like a nice cool guy! He had returned to his roots in Senegal and was in Mali to check out Timbucktoo. But he left on an early bus with this older Austrian grandmother travelling there too. Then later I got out of bed to get some water and a bite to eat. Well I discovered that this purse that I kept my money was missing with about 60,000 CFX or about 100 Euros / $150. I was a bit shocked and disappointed so I checked for my passport and bank cards. They were luckily still there so at least I could get some cash out of the machine. I mentioned this to the Sister running the Mission

but not that she could do anything but just to let her know that it happened; cus well Shit Happens....She was surprised and a bit upset that it happened. But what could I do as thought the dude was a nice friendly guy but it may not have been him! But who else could it be cus there were only the French chick and Austrian lady and they were both in another dorm room. So I just chalked it up to bad luck and my own stupidity for no locking up my stuff which I will do from now on and trust no one!

Hey I ve been stuck in Bamako for the past 5 days waiting for my flight to Tunisia. So it gave me a great chance to catch on my travel blog and research Lebanon. It helps to have time cus the internet goes down a lot and so does the electricity. I bought some PDF travel guide chapters from Lonely Planet about Lebanon but it was a pain downloading them. You should try using an internet cafe in Africa some time when u downloading things, uploading pics or just writing using the many different keyboards the different countries use. It seems every country in Europe uses a different keyboard but most of West Africa use these wild French {with some haing Arabic characters on them too}. Then I got a cheap computer in Barcelona to replace the one I got stolen there. Its got a Spanish keyboard but had it loaded with American keyboard but still have trouble finding some special characters. Then I borrowed Adrian {the Swiss guy I travelled to Timbucktoo } computer and he has a Swiss German keyboard; again a bit different. So if the writing on my blog looks a bit poorly written well kiss my ass cus u don t have to read it. Anyway it s basically my journal to myself and my family who are very understanding{about my poor penman ship ha ha}. One thing I have never found on these stupid European keyboards is the apostrophe cus maybe they don t use them or even know what I m talking about.....

But all in all glad I came to this place and what I've seen are all good experiences! Would I come back well u decide cus I have a lot of places I haven t been to that I want to see first.

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