338 miles. (3806 miles to date)
In answer to some of your messages regarding Kerry and Dai’s feet and of course the disappearance of Eugine;
Kerry is now back in the uk after minor surgery to repair the small broken bone in her foot and recently had her cast changed to a purple one and is doing fine.
The last we heard of Eugine is from a Guardermerie at a check point who was expecting all three of us. The Guarder re traced Eugene’s route by calling back to previous check points to find out his whereabouts. The Guarder was quickly informed that Eugine was in the town we left that morning meaning he was only 50 miles behind us in Kiffa, which was now two days ago. We ate lunch and waited a while but it was a no show. I also asked earlier today at the border in to Burkina Faso, they hadn’t seen him either. I can only presume Eugine’s bike problem continued because of the poor quality of the fuel and either returned back to the uk, waiting for his bike to be remapped or slipped through some sleepy border post and is now well ahead of me. Eugine if you’re out there, drop us a message via the web site just so we and the followers know you are ok, cheers.
The swelling on Dai’s foot has almost disappeared but the bruising still evident and his ankle looks a bit crooked, apart from that he’s doing well. He has also stopped limping as much so definitely on the mend.
This morning, unfortunately, I left Dai in Mali to continue my journey South whilst he lords it up at the Sleeping Camel, then a possible slow return loop home via Senegal and Gambia which seems to be the destination of most travellers in West Africa. Is it only me whose crazy enough to attempt the Congo’s I ask myself?
To see me off, a big manly hug was in order. The Ambassador Lady became jealous and demanded a photo with me only, lol. The lady posed with me next to the bike as if I was that Husband she is looking for.
I nervously left Bamako alone en route towards the Burkina Faso border. Dai has not only been great company but also had a good mechanical knowledge of the bikes which I had started to rely on. I’m hoping the quality of fuel will now improve as I refuelled twice today with “Super” which made a significant difference to the bikes performance. She now purrs like a cheetah rather than sounding like a whining old Billy goat whens she starts.
I was quite upset leaving Mali, as the people had been so friendly. Leaving one country and entering another is always a truly emotional experience. The Mali General must of realised this when my eyes welled up as he said “Mali, now finished, you go”. I shook their hands and told them what a beautiful country they live in.
The exit process was again efficient which included having my Carnet and Passport stamped out of the country and that was it.
I then entered no mans between the two borders which was a good tarmac road but a very lonely experience. I was the only person and vehicle on that road. It was that quiet I started to look around in the bushes for some kind of ambush, but I’m sure that’s the Malaria tablets. Suppose there’s nothing wrong with being vigilant mind.
This time, it cost me absolutely nothing to enter Burkina Faso compared to the 100 euro’s worth of brown envelopes it cost to enter Mali although I did have to teach them how to fill out my Carnet de Passage.
As Ross informed me, each country seems to be better than the last.
The Border Guards appear even friendlier than in Mali along with the traders who kindly offered drinks and nuts from large metal bowls which were being perfectly balanced on their brightly coloured head dresses. The traders don’t hassle you like in Morocco but just stand there in case you would like to buy anything.
Actually, apart from the night of the curfew, not once have I felt threatened and often left unlocked items on top of the bike whilst I fill out paperwork. The locals will not even come within a meter of the motorcycle, they just admire from a distance and won’t even touch me or the bike. I have noticed the locals really do have outstanding respect for each other’s belongings and privacy.
Just before I left the border post I fed some chickens some cashew nuts I had left over and whilst doing so not noticing a coach full of African tourists pull over. After a few minutes, I turned around and to my surprise there must have been all 52 passengers lined up facing me with their mouths open in astonishment. I scanned my eyes around the crowd to see what the problem was. There wasn’t one; it must just have been unusual to see a white man feed cashew nuts to chickens. Feeling quite shy, I waved and greeted “Ca va”. In unison they all smiled showing there bright white teeth and waved back.
The roads here in Burkina are similar to Mali roads which are reasonably tarmacked with the odd large pot hole but with much less traffic compared to the crazy, scooter filled roads of Bamako City.
Throughout Mali, we used the single carriageway main roads which are also tolls, but not for motorcycles. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case in Burkina where moto’s are eligible to pay which I did with pleasure at a grand total of 200 Francs, which is about 30 pence.
Because I left Bamako early this morning and had not planned many riding miles today, I arrived at my destination by midday, so decided to press on and gain a day back from my schedule.
This evening, the first two hotels I tried informed me of no room at the inn, so I searched for alternatives and eventually found a very noisy hotel further down the road with secure parking and probably much cheaper, so smiles all round.