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Another day in Bamako, this one we spent shopping for food. It's our turn as the cook group, which means we must buy food and cook a meal for our group of twenty. It's a daunting task to feed that many people, especially since we're in a foreign country where English is not lingua franca. We stumble through the market with a sweaty fistful of CFA's (the currency used in for many West African countries such as Senegal, Mali, Burkina Faso, Cote D'Ivoire), gesticulating and negotiating in broken French for yams, onions, and anything that looks like it would work in stir fry. Next week we'll have another chance when our turn in the cooking rotation comes up. This time we learned several things. (1) Go anywhere in Bamako and a freelance 'guide' will follow you everywhere, demanding a commission from the shopkeepers whose shops you visit and even a tip from you. (2) Negotiate the price for all goods. (3) Next to the produce market is a fetish market where you can buy monkey heads and snake skins for voodoo ceremonies.
Foreigner-friendly barber shops: point to the picture that shows how you want your hair cut.
The markets in Mali must rate as the most colorful in the world. People dress to the nines to negotiate for goods.
Measuring out things the old fashioned way...
Dried Niger riverfish is a local delicacy. Even though it's our turn to cook, we passed on this and made vegi-pasta instead.