Friday, 1 February 2013


Tombuctou necklace - once a passport to the town
I have been thinking a lot about Tombuctou of late. Not surprisingly given its prominence in the news.
What is it with these countries I have visited all turning to dust and mayhem!!! 
I have very strong memories of this town. Particularly the light, almost blinding and the watermelon vines sprawling their way out to the desert. It was a wild place even back then. I thought I might die there ( I had a flu that made my skin burn and my throat melt into swords.) I even had a possè of doctors ( only way to describe the bling that accompanied them) who came in to inspect me and prescribed me antibiotics the size of bananas. I remember looking out of my iron bar window at an encampment of Tuareg below me and thinking 'I may well die here but at least it is exotic.' It was certainly a difficult town to be in. Hard to find food or water and my favourite restaurant  Poulet d'Or  ( or Chicken of Gold as we preferred to call it) was so filled with flies the table hovered as we ate. But I remember the ornate doors of the mosques and the ancient secrets hidden within and it saddens me to think of what has been destroyed there now.
Tombuctou is not for foreigners. Myself or the Islamists. It belongs to the people who have struggled there for centuries, who have endured its barren wastelands and made themselves a home. 

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