Tuareg Art and Music at UCLA’s Fowler Museum

This weekend is the opening of an exhibit on Tuareg art and music. We became aware of this show from a women Louisa has corresponded with because of her work in Niger.

More information: Art of Being Tuareg: Sahara Nomads in a Modern World (don’t know if this link will work after the event is over). And here is information on the opening day events, Sunday, October 29.

This should get us on a cultural start for our trip, even if we aren’t getting to the Tuareg regions for weeks.

Did I say we have six days left. And we just looked at our reservations closely and we have a full day layover in Casablanca. We hope we can get a tourist visa and visit Casablanca.

Early Thanksgiving

We hosted the long standing Friday Happy Hour. Since we’re missing all the year end holidays, (We won’t totally miss all of them, we just won’t be with friends. And Thanksgiving isn’t celebrated in Sub-Saharan Africa.)  Louisa cooked a turkey with stuffing and other side dishes. Friends brought more food including delicious cranberry/orange zest relish and pumpkin crumble to fill out the Thanksgiving them. All the food was great. Thank you to all.

Itinerary as of 22 Sept 2006

Conakry, Guinea-Kendia-Mamou-Dalaba-Labé-Télimélé (and return)-Mali(ville)-Koundara-Salémata, Senegal-Bandafassi-Kédougou-Saraya-Koundamé, Mali—Kéniéba—Bafoulabé—Kita—Bamako. Itinerary uncertain in Mali because we don’t know when the Diafarabé cattle crossing will occur and the schedule won’t be set until sometime in November as near as we can find out. In addition to the cattle crossing: Ségou, Mopti, Timbuctu (Tombouctou), and the Dogon on the Bandiagara escarpment. Also the crossing place into Mali will be determined by the water level on the Falémé River.

Narrowing the locations

Louisa and I sat down last week and narrowed the number countries we might visit. Top choice for Louisa is Mali based on her love of their art and music. We decided since there was too much to visit, we may as well eliminate the recently troubled countries. We then used our reading of Lonely Planet and Rough Guide to gauge the time needed for each country. Niger is high on our list. To visit Naimey, Agadez, Aït somehting, and the Ténéré desert is about five weeks. Mail up to eight weeks. Guinea for us could be three weeks. Ghana is somewhere we’d like to visit and Burkina Faso is in the neighborhood and we might have to fly in to Senegal. Next week we need to refine the choices. West Africa Map


Yesterday, the Fourth of July, I purchased a bike for the trip. I was reluctant to take my current mountain bike for two main reason—not wanting to set it up for touring (and back again when I get home) and fear of losing it somewhere on the trip. I’ve been watching Craig’s list for six months or so. My goal was to find a good, but old mountain bike. Old for price, but not so old that it would be hard to get parts for. I think I found it—a Trek 8000 vintage 1992. Seven-speed (which should be less fussy than current 9-speed), 1-⅛-in. steerer tube (can put a suspension fork later), and it looks and is reported by the owner to be lightly used. The previous (second?) owner had 23mm tires on it, so it was little used off road.

The fun thing about the bike is the paint job, and hence the bikes nick name (I don’t usually name my inantimate possesions). But the splatter paint job called for a name. Hence Jackson Pollock Bike (JPB). Pictures at 11 (Can I link photos in WordPress? There must be a way).

The bike is quick steering, but seems stable enough. I won’t know until I put fatter tires on in.

About 26 pounds with the 23mm tires.