We use cookies to give you the best possible experience on our site. Click here to find out more. Allow cookies

arrow Register here

Forgotten password?


Day 40: Bamako

Bamako, Mali 
click to enlarge 
file size
Morning coffee at Mr Yatarra's boutique. Bamako's elegant Gallic station rises in the background.
Michael Palin - SaharaOrder a coffee, which is made in a tall glass with about eight grains of Nescafé and half a tin of evaporated milk. It tastes disgusting. Mr Yatarra is a character though. He speaks good English and eyes us with lofty amusement. When J-P asks him if he is happy for us to film, he pats the side of his voluminous djellaba.

'I am happy in my pocket,' he says beadily, demonstrating a shrewd feel for First-World guilt.

'This is Africa. You must give me something. We are many.'

A beggar approaches, holding his tin with the stump of a severed arm. Mr Yatarra ignores him.

Watching people coming and going, I'm impressed once again by how much in Africa travels by head. A woman strides by, carrying a riot of carrots that seem to sprout from her like orange dreadlocks, another bears two large clay pots, each at least a foot across, one on top of the other and both on top of her head. A very lean, tall man in a 'Giggs 11' T-shirt, a pile of sports bags on his head, reluctantly breaks step to avoid an older man, head bent beneath the weight of two double mattresses.
Choose another day from Sahara


  • Series: Sahara
  • Day: 40
  • Country/sea: Mali
  • Place: Bamako
  • Book page no: 123

Bookmarks will keep your place in one or more series. But you'll need to register and/or log in.