23 Mopti Town-1 Merchandise_1024x762SYNOPSIS:  Another day in Mopti to take care of business, and seeing some sights.  Holding out in vain for some internet connectivity. 

Mopti has another sizable mosque in the so typical Sudanese mud-brick style for this area.  In contrast to Djenne’s mosque however, it is relatively new.  And in contrast to Djenne, the techniques of mud-brick making had been corrupted and almost lost which messed up the mosque to a degree that its survival was in question.   The Agha Khan Foundation was called in and not only helped to remove the layer of concrete that some architectural dilettantes had applied to the structure, but conducted workshops to retrain artisans who now can continue in the age-old, tested mud techniques.

It was a nice structure indeed but off- limits as every other mosque in Mali so far.  Two young guys immediately attached themselves to me after Chris and I had parted ways, each in search of money.  They spoke English and were obviously trying to get me to look at their shop.  As everywhere else, the tourism industry is gone and dozens of merchants in the artisans market sit around all day in their dark stalls – remember, no electricity in Mopti after 6 AM – and there is nobody to sell anything to.   Everything just rots away under a layer of dust.

After that sad market experience, I passed Mopti’s local history museum which was, of course, closed.   But I had been spotted as a potential customer and was told that if I waited for a few minutes, somebody could be found who would open the museum for me.   If there is anything I have in this town it is time.   It was worth the wait.   The museum was small, but featured great information on the various famous mud-brick mosques in Mali in not only French, but also English!  It had small models of each of them which was very helpful in picturing the layouts of the structures which is always not only off limits, but also typically raised on a platform, and thereby hard to gage. This was great. 

By the end of the day I had money, had seen the mosque, visited the museum, had purchased a Fulani hat – a very traditional hat for herders for my excursions into Dogon country, and had mangoes to eat – literally the only thing I have eaten in two days except some bread for breakfast. It is just too damned hot for anything else.  This was a good day and could have been really great if the internet would have worked as promised.  The electricity came on like clockwork, no storm in its way today.   But I had barely finished some Skype time, when it was gone.  I set my alarm for two hour intervals all night, but that was it!    That was not exactly what I had stayed on for a full extra day.  But what can you do but resign yourself to the facts?  At least yesterday I was able to send on most of the blogs written in Djenne.  And tomorrow I will be heading into another big black hole of civilization:   Dogon Country.  When I emerge, I hopefully will have better luck in Mopti to which I will return for one reason only before turning north to my final destination, Timbuktu – the internet.  I hope it will come through for me then.

Good night.