Nov 25(Sun) This has been an up and down 2 days...arriving at Kabara 10 km from Timbuktu...since Mari & I were a bit under the weather(runs!) we did not get off boat quickly so rest of haoles were in a taxi and off before 4 of us got our bush together! We did go in a taxi much less crowded but I ripped my pants on the seat sliding in! In the end we ended up at the same Hotel Bouctou where most of them had checked in tho thru a much more circuitous route and a bit worse for wear. Again meeting up w/ Laura & Cor(Dutch couple) who had taken a paroque up for 3 days...food was just as bad on their trip as ours! At dinner we had soup which we expected to cost $2.50 as we had been told but when bill came it was $5 (small bowl of not great soup!). Talking to the numerous guides who attacked us on the street we were told not only was the post office closed(we wanted to mail post cards from here) but so were the tourist office-to get Timbuktu stamp in our passports, the mosque tour, and the museum til Monday! Since we found everything to be immensely expensive and the sun made the town a fierce oven we were bummed and wanted out asap!
Nov 26(Mon) Today we went to breakfast(incl in ON price) and they not only gave us 2nds on bread and hot water but more jam/butter AND orange juice! Our spirits lifted as well by the fact that it was overcast and cool we headed down the street to find the tourist office was open and today only the stamp for our passport was FREE!(although we did give the fellow a little bakshish). Heading into tour the town we saw a great museum-see pics, and fellow even spoke good English(his family was Spanish/Moroccan) and told us much about family life of Tuarig people("native" to this area, camel caravans & herders) emphasizing often that they believe in only one wife(since 2 is twice the trouble, 3 is three times the trouble, and 4 wives you die!)...Muslims believe you can have 4 wives. We toured the rest of this ancient town-archeologists have found evidence that it has been occupied by humans over 50,000 years!! Visiting peace memorial estab by much reviered Taurig General ATT as they call him=long name is not worth the effort here, market place, as well as historic houses of the few early Euros who 1st visited Timbuktu(had to sneak in since Muslims did not want them coming)
We ran into Jane & Cathal(Irish couple) who gave us directions to a newly opened by French lady restaurant-reasonable and good food is always a priority! On our way to getting lost we ran into Roger & George who redirected us down the right road where we had a fine chicken lunch w/ beans & fries! I had taken the "cure" for my problems and Mari was also feeling better so you might say we all went from the "pits to the peaks" in 24 hours!
Arranging transport back to Sevare for next day as well AND leaving at 10 so those who wished could mail post cards...Yippee! But we shall see...