After Dogon Country one of my traveling buddies, Christine, and I decided to continue our tour of Mali. I had a sneaking suspicion that this vacation was actually making me more crazy instead of the other way around and thought extending the entire thing would stave off the cray cray a little longer. What? You don’t understand that logic? In retrospect me neither.
We tried organizing a pirogue cruise of the Niger River Delta but balked when we saw that the boat we would be riding in was closer to a floating coffin than a real boat. Except it smelled of fish, not dead people. On to plan B.
Plan B was visiting the mud mosque in the city of Djenne. We originally had no intentions of visiting Djenne, but Christine was all like, “I mean it’s on the cover of the guidebook.” And I was all like, “Yeah, that seems like a good reason to me.” Good thing Brandt didn’t put a picture of a Toureg militia camp on the cover of their Mali guidebook. I mean that would have been bad. Not because Toureg militia camps are bad, but because I don’t know how to ride a camel and I did not pack enough vitamin c tablets to fend off the scurvy that would be inevitable with a meat-only nomadic diet.
So anyways, we end up at the garage where instead of hanging out with the other four English speaking tourists waiting for the car to Djenne, we make friends with an obsessive compulsive Songhay omelet vendor. Because apparently we have forgotten how to be around people from the developed world and instead prefer to hangout with people who we can’t communicate with and who have untreated mental disorders. But he made a really good omelet sandwich. Really.
We arrived in Djenne at sunset. Just in time to hear the call to prayer (which is sung in unison by four Imams standing on opposite corners of the mosque). Since we were leaving the next morning we hired a high school kid to give us a night tour of the town. Because that seemed like the logical thing to do. Tiny pocket sized Christine and crazy me wandering the back streets of a mud city with a complete stranger.
The tour was going well, until we went to this grave site, where apparently–according to folklore–a girl walled herself up inside her own grave as a sacrifice to rid the city of bad spirits. And all I could think about was the creepy coffin boat from that morning and how I was one bad decision away from being a crazy West African ghost. Seriously. I don’t know if it was the dark windy streets, or my low blood sugar, or the ghost of this insane girl, but I got the heebie jeebies and was done. Ready to jump into bed, hide under and blanket and listen to Kelly Clarkson until I forget kind of done.
On to the next adventure. Hopefully this one will involve fewer coffins…
Disclaimer: The contents of this blog are mine alone and do not represent the positions or views of the U.S. Government or the U.S. Peace Corps.