17 january


At seven o’clock from Pogo, a village just before the border with Mali, I quickly do the border practices and then off to Sikasso. The road is full of potholes, and a disaster has arrived in the city, probably because they are working on some stretches. I am looking for a bank to exchange or withdraw but I cannot find, until a gentleman with a distinguished Englishman suggests to me a bank that could have ATMs with a mastercard and exchange dollars. They prefer euros because it is more stable currency, to know it first. Reisco however to withdraw and to make gasoline. The dangers of possible assaults are only a memory, all quiet, even meeting the cyclists, fully dressed with racing bikes, they were probably doing a race, strange in Mali, but true. I arrive in Bamako in the early afternoon, stop at a pump to fill up with petrol and ask the boy to call Dolo, my contact for Bamako. I stop at the meeting point and after a few minutes arrive by taxi. We say goodbye and follow him to his house which is just outside the city center. After settling down we talk a bit, Dolo speaks Italian very well, he is the tour guide in Benin and Togo once, and we hope again very soon, even Mali and Burkina Faso. He is in contact with agencies in Trento, life is strange. We have dinner together after having a look at tomorrow’s stage, at half past eight I’m already in bed, tired but happy.