December 20, 2008 GMT
Wow, a lot of countries

My last real blog insert was from Senegal and the hideous events that were the arrests of Peter and myself. Shame really as the impressions I got from Senegal is that it was a really beautiful country. A lot of really nice people, the cool cities of St Louis and Dakar, vibrant night-life and general good feeling. Only for it to be upset by a person who thought it okay to have us arrested in an attempt to extract money and misery from us! B****rd! I hope his balls turn square and fester in every corner. Not that I hold a grudge Tee hee hee!
After Senegal, Peter and I met up with a fellow rider Jean-Marie, on his BMW1200gs. A Frenchman who was pottering about West Africa having a ball. We were honoured to have him join us as I'm sure Peter fancied some intelligent conversation for a change and J-Ms english was excellent which in turn gave us a break from doing more damage to the French Language.

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It was amusing to find that as Peter readily admits, his mechanical knowledge isn't great but when J-M disclosed to us over dinner that he still couldn't find where to put in the water for the radiator on his new BMW1200gs. We had to stare at each other in disbelief and have a good chuckle. I'm sure that made Peters blog entry!
So onto the formalities of the border with Mali, crossing the frontier bridge after completing the immigration formalities but failing to get my carnet stamped I had to return and seek the customs post. Slightly annoyed with myself I pushed onto to complete the Malian side and found Peter and J-M waiting for me at the Customs building. Onwards and upwards we went and after a couple of long days found ourselves in Bamako, the capital city.

I had done some work on the bike back in Dakar by fitting a new oil cooler as the temperature wasn't being too good. Readily hitting red as soon as 10 minutes into the days ride but I figured it out to be a combination of ambient temperature, lack of airflow around the engine and me kicking the arse out of it doing 120kms per hour for hours on end! However even after fitting the oil cooler the temp was down but I wasn't convinced I had done the job properly and needed to check it, air lock in the system maybe? Or as mark would put it 'Nut loose behind the steering!' i.e. ME!
So Peter and J-M headed off the next day from the Catholic Mission to Djenne and the Famous mud mosque another 600km ride to the East.

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After checking all's well with the bike, obtaining stickers for myself and Mark I pushed on towards Djenne and stopping off in Sejou for a night. I met up with J-M on his return from Djenne whilst I was sat in a restaurant. I had told one of the local hotel touts I wasn't making a decision for what dive I was going to stay in until my friends were to be informed. I was alone but use this ploy as a breather from the incessant touts. It happens that J-M was returning through the town when one of the touts jumped in front of him, shouting 'Geoffs over here, come quickly, follow me!!' So in curiosity he did. Ha ha, what a surprise!
As usual I managed to fall foul of the law as I asked a local for the road out of town in the direction for Djenne. The mistake I made was to ask a pedestrian...! For he pointed down the road, I happily thanked him and set off only to be stopped by two gleeful coppers for being the wrong way ON A ONE WAY STREET! Of course the pedestrian I asked gave me the correct answer, for a pedestrian! Doh!
The cops then gave me the usual babble and then hit me with the fine 16,000chf! Jeeezzus Chriiist! How much? That's a months wages. I'm not paying that. So I stuck my heels in and refused politely whereas another two cops turned up, then another then finally a cop whom everybody smartly stood to attention, saluted and stared straight at me. They'd obviously been chatting to each other and brought in the 'heavies' to wear me down and it wasn't until bigwig turned up and said 'we got you bang to rights (artistic licence) my son, now pay or jail!' So I paid! Feeling pissed off but relieved to have my bike and paperwork back I quickly hopped onto the steed fired her up and got out of there only to look back and see the cops dividing up the money I'd just paid them! Wonderful!
On to Djenne and the Mud Mosque..........

Posted by geoffshing at December 20, 2008 01:46 PM GMT
 


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