Day 64: Back to Tenere

Soutpiel Safari
John & Jenny
Sat 8 Jan 2011 16:47
Day 64: Friday 7 January 2010. Tenere emcampement, Mali. N16 24.092 W002 53.952. Distance driven 64 km
We are on a very slow internet link and on checking the various posts that I have made over the last 6 days I find that they have disappeared into the ether: I am really getting fed up with this Mailasail blog software.  I have just spent the last hour re-posting 3 blogs that I painstakingly wrote in the desert and sent, at great expense, by Sat Phone, only to find that I have been wasting my time and money!
Well, back-tracking, we had a fascinating tour of Tombouctou visiting the various libraries where they have original manuscripts dating back to the 10th century. There were 13th century treatises in Arabic of astronomy, geometry and pharmacology.  Quite incredible for a sandy assembly of mud huts in the middle of the desert.
We left at midday and drove back over the ferry to Tenere encampement. At the ferry we had an unpleasant altercation with a very aggressive man, whom we had met two days earlier in the melee on the other side.  We had been queuing with 50 other vehicles, all fighting to get on the ferry, when we decided to opt out, turn around and join our friends camping for the night.  In turning around in a very tight space and without brakes at the time, I bumped a beaten up old pick-up and broke his headlight.  This "fixer" very aggressively demanded CFA 30,000 on behalf of the owner.  I eventually settled with the owner for 20,000 and paid him and we each went our separate ways.  On return today we were accosted by the same fixer who aggressively demanded another CFA 10,000.  I told him to get lost whereupon he said he would get a Gendarme - we said go head. Meanwhile a very pleasant local Malian interpreted for us and when the Gendarme arrived he acted for us.  It was all settled very quickly once the Gendarme had heard both sides of the story, he also told Mr Fixit to get lost and he slunk off muttering. It was very pleasing to have a local volunteer to help us and not to request a reward for his services.