Wednesday, December 15, 2004

reunion time

the past few days have been exhausting. sidy and i have managed to get air france to promise a refund of most of his money on his ticket since they were requiring transit visas from france and the usa (at a cost of more than 40 bucks each and at least a week of time each) and plus they had no flights in december or january. the whole point of this is to get sidy to jamaica to see his girlfriend lynette, who leaves in january. so we now have a ticket on air maroc through canada, and have his application in for a transit visa through canada (at a cost of 10 bucks and who knows how long). his flight was supposed to go this morning, so i guess we'll have to rebook that one. and he might get 10 days in jamaica.

yesterday was good though, despite figuring out that this whole transhite visa thing was going to suck up some time and money and energy.

on our way downtown, we rode the moped (sore butt erich) past alhassan's house. he was there, having literally just arrived in france from touring with nahawa doumbia. alhassan was my drum teacher last time i was here and sidy was his apprentice. sidy has since moved on, and i was fearing a bit of a wierd interaction, but as seems to be the case in mali, you can have a huge falling out with someone and still seem completely normal around them. anyway it was good to see alhassan and his family, he has another daughter who looks just like his first one did when i was here before.

after we got the ticket in the morning, then we go to the canadian embassy where the woman assures us the transhite visas are only for european countries and the usa (implying nicely that those countries couldn't control security at their airports). canada doesn't do such a thing. shortly after we left on a huge high, she called and said, nope in special circumstances (ie if you are an african trying to travel outside of africa) you need a transhite visa.

after going back to get the application and talking to lynette in jamaica, sidy and i set off to try and find m'ba (my dance teacher from last trip). eventually we found her and her husband tièfourou and their kids in a 'house' way up on the hill beyond doumanzana where i am staying. she saved up some money and bought the land and the stuff to build the house for her, her mom, her family and some other folks. amazing. it was also great to see her and her family, there house is so nice and quiet up on the hill looking over bamako and the suburbs near me. they both work with a dance troupe in doumanzana and are getting ready for the regional selections which will lead the top artists into the regional troupes for the bienal coming up in the summer of 2005. make your travel plans now. anyway, i'm going to try and work with them a bit to study up, also sidy is going to teach me some djembe stuff. i have to get back into dance, haven't danced since i left boston, and joh and his company are having/just had a big show that i ditched for this trip. i've got to get back in shape for when i get back home!

more funny stuff - the horn in the sotreman we were in one of these days. sotremans are the green european delivery vans stripped down to the metal. benches are placed around the edge, giving enough room for about 8-10 people, if you're in the american mentality. here, it's normal to have 20 stuffed in the back. anyway, sidy and i were riding up front with the driver, and there were two bare wires sticking out of the dash. the driver would occasionally grab them both at the same time and activate the horn. great stuff. especially since the use of the horn seems so arbitrary to me here. honk to pass, honk to say hi, honk to honk, honk at animals in the road etc etc

oh yeah, and in case i was vague earlier, when i wrote you all and said i wasn't doing individual emails, i was referring to writing my stories down in email. i'll happily respond to your emails to thanks to those of you who have wrote here or to my email, i love getting notes from home.

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