To Timbuktu for a Haircut: A Journey through West Africa

By Rick Antonson

Timbuktu: the African urban recognized to legend as a land of students, attractiveness and secret, a golden age within the Sahara barren region. yet to many it's a vaguely recognizable identify – a flippant tag for “the such a lot distant position on earth.” With this fabled urban as his target, writer Rick Antonson begun a month-long trek. His preliminary plan? To get a haircut.

Aided through an adventuresome spirit, Rick endures a forty-five hour educate trip, a swindling trip agent, “Third global, three-lane” roads, rivers, and a flat deck ferry boat ahead of eventually attaining Timbuktu. Rick narrates the heritage of this elusive vacation spot in the course of the teachings of his Malian consultant Zak, and encounters with stranded travelers, a camel proprietor, a riverboat captain, and the folk who name Timbuktu home.

Antonson’s eloquence and quiet wit spotlight the city’s myths—the centuries outdated capital and traveler’s dream—as good as its realities: A urban gripped via poverty, the place historical treasures lie on the subject of the sands of destruction. certainly, a few 700,000 historical manuscripts stay there, endangered. either a travelogue and a historical past of a spot lengthy forgotten, To Timbuktu for a Haircut emerges as a plea to maintain the prior and open cultural dialogues on a world scale.

The moment version of this crucial e-book outlines the risky political occasions in Timbuktu following the spring 2012 army coup in Mali and the next trap of town by way of Islamic extremists. actually, it's a race opposed to time to save lots of the city’s irreplaceable artifacts, mosques, and monuments, and to appreciate why Timbuktu’s prior is key to the way forward for Africa.

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By Rick Antonson

Timbuktu: the African urban recognized to legend as a land of students, attractiveness and secret, a golden age within the Sahara barren region. yet to many it's a vaguely recognizable identify – a flippant tag for “the such a lot distant position on earth.” With this fabled urban as his target, writer Rick Antonson begun a month-long trek. His preliminary plan? To get a haircut.

Aided through an adventuresome spirit, Rick endures a forty-five hour educate trip, a swindling trip agent, “Third global, three-lane” roads, rivers, and a flat deck ferry boat ahead of eventually attaining Timbuktu. Rick narrates the heritage of this elusive vacation spot in the course of the teachings of his Malian consultant Zak, and encounters with stranded travelers, a camel proprietor, a riverboat captain, and the folk who name Timbuktu home.

Antonson’s eloquence and quiet wit spotlight the city’s myths—the centuries outdated capital and traveler’s dream—as good as its realities: A urban gripped via poverty, the place historical treasures lie on the subject of the sands of destruction. certainly, a few 700,000 historical manuscripts stay there, endangered. either a travelogue and a historical past of a spot lengthy forgotten, To Timbuktu for a Haircut emerges as a plea to maintain the prior and open cultural dialogues on a world scale.

The moment version of this crucial e-book outlines the risky political occasions in Timbuktu following the spring 2012 army coup in Mali and the next trap of town by way of Islamic extremists. actually, it's a race opposed to time to save lots of the city’s irreplaceable artifacts, mosques, and monuments, and to appreciate why Timbuktu’s prior is key to the way forward for Africa.

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This is often my vacation. i'm going to return to paintings while my holiday is over. ” “And then your paintings is extra go back and forth? ” I sensed Ussegnou’s bemusement. “Why in Africa? ” he requested into the darkness. “Because we're negative and also you aren't? ” 4 From the following to Timbuktu A JOLT at the TRACKS WOKE US AND introduced our arrival in Kita. It was once early, darkish. We have been nonetheless 185 kilometres from Bamako. I rolled over and felt a loaf of bread disintegrate below my weight. not able to work out, I slipped off the pinnacle bunk, my palms exploring to discover the entrance, and headed into the dimly lit hall.

With 3 weeks of trip last, i used to be not able to oblige. “No. i'm sorry. ” Solomon crept into view, sneaking clear of the camp. “Goathead,” I known as, announcing the nickname for my entertainment, no longer his. “How’s that head on your tummy? ” “Not good, no longer well,” he acknowledged and stored creeping towards a bush in a sphincter-tightening stroll. I rose from the ridge of the rut and 100 flies left me. Mamadou held a pot from the fireplace towards me as I walked into camp. “Café, Wrick? ” The morning’s empty cans have been stacked at the back of him.

The group’s nutrients was once being ready via Nema and one other Malian lady, who took Nema’s guideline whereas barking again at her. It used to be Nema’s demeanour to claim and direct, and the opposite woman’s to sound robust in defiance whereas acquiescing. They labored on a makeshift counter carved into the sand and coated with a material. This was once the place we might consume for the following few days. huge pots have been loaded sooner than being set over warmth: fowl meat was once unwrapped, picked aside, thrown within the pot; the paper wrapping was once dropped at the floor.

Alistair endured his account. “Taoudenni is decided on a undeniable the place a lake that dried out some time past left alternating layers of silt and salt. It’s surrounded by way of volcanic cones and rocky outcrops. there is not any city, no longer even a store. Taoudenni isn't a hard and fast position; it creeps around the dry lake mattress because the salt is successively exhausted. Ragged shacks, made up of mine waste and corrugated iron, stream with the mine. The water on hand close to Taoudenni is just appropriate for camels. Potable water for the miners is a three-day camel experience away.

Fingers over fingers, we pulled it up back. I poured a few over my head after which passed the sack to him. He crammed a trough for the animals, admittedly a extra important use of the water. I recalled the remark of a pal from Japan, who as soon as informed me that during small villages in that kingdom, there's a asserting: “When you're taking a drink of water, cease to thank those that dug the good. ” i used to be a ways prior to Zak and knew this to not be quite strong. I relied on that i used to be at the correct course yet numerous techniques opened sooner than me, each one heading in a special course.

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