|Nov 27(Tues) Well, lesson learned...when it's an 8 hr. trip we must leave EARLY(by 8 at least)! Also, we must see the vehicle to make sure it can make the journey and not break down. Mohamid at Hotel Bouctou promised more than he could deliver, the vehicle was not in good enuf shape to make the trip all the way to Sevare. Thus we got transferred to the milk run bus at 6 pm in( ?) and did not arrive at Mac's until past 10 pm missing our dinner thus costing us half the price of meals since they bought food for us. We should not commit to schedules which are in doubt. The road is as advertised gravel, poor with washboard at east 80% of the way. To avoid it the driver was for ever going off road into desert sand which slowed him down considerably. Luckily, there were other haoles who spoke both French and local ingo(exPCV) who made sure we got at east transport paid all the way even transferring to minibus. It was a comfortable bus, but many stops and loading/off loading goat, bags, bundles, etc. It was a great relief to arrive at Mac's even having missed dinner...the guard was waiting and et us right in. Bear the dog greeted us(since we "camp" on the foof where he sleeps we are good friends now. Bon is bummed that we are staying another night here at Mac's, she feels strongly that Mari is acting as a drag anchor, slowing us down to a snail pace.
I do think that if Mari does not want to leave a place she does put up a bit of a tantrum which intimidates us into staying but this time we hadn't made any decision to go on the night before so its not the same as before.
On Mac's Refuge: Truely as the name implies...the best destination we've encountered in W Africa, the only one I would recom as a place to seek out. Helpful, friendly,clean and many services...breakfasts incl pancakes,french toast,muesli,yogurt,homemade jams & syrups & p. butter,mixed fruits,tea & coffee. Plus as an added extra the only call to prayers by a donkey!!
Another mention: after a very tasty and reasonable dinner of vegie spaghetti,chicken,couscous at Hotel Teranga only 14,000 for 4 of us incl beverage, we walked back to Max's and under every street light along the way students were studying!!