Sat 5 Jul 2014 11:47
Some years back I went with Explore to Mali. I always wanted to see the Bandiagara Escarpment and Timbuktu. While at Djene we met Mike Palin where he was making the series SAHARA. We had a chat took a picture of him on the quiet and when he looked around I pretended as nothing had happened.
Few years later I was going to Himalayas and there it was and with a new series about the Himalayas.
Another few years and I am in Brazil and his series on Brazil comes out. Who is reading who's mind? Coincidences?
I met him also at Olympia one year he had to brush pass me in his cream white silk shirt. The audience was mainly females. I did not stay to listen.
We had a pinache and went on the river Niger for 3 days to get to Timbuktu, in the old days it was by the river side, now is set a long way back. We were camping by the river side one night when I saw the whole field move. It was rats by the thousands...Another night we had a sand storm approaching. I got in the tent with our rack sacks and gear Jim was piling on the sand outside the tent to keep it down. The American girl by herself in the tent took off, they were chasing the tent to get to her. What a fright. Our tent was full of sand dust which blocked my throat and eventually had to take antibiotics to clear the blockage.
Mike Paling skipped the best part, about the Bandiagara especially. We spent 5 days there trekking. It cost me 5 bottles a day at £1.25 each. The porters had to carry all our tents, cooking utencils, food etc. They will walk faster then us set up a camp by say 11.00 where we will stop for a few hours and then start again. In the evening all over again.
We had a French speaking English guide with us plus a local one. Amazing trip. You cannot go there now because of the fighting.