Monday, December 31, 2007

Happy New Year faithful readers!

Our good friends Phil Johnston and Jill Cordes visited us last week. Here we are celebrating Christmas (a day late):



Phil’s a great photographer. While we were out walking just a couple blocks from our house, he took this picture of a very sweet little girl:



On Saturday we took a cruise on the Niger, where Phil snapped this photo of two fishermen at sunset:



We also went to the “fetish” market, where animal parts are sold for use in animist rituals:



Copernicus (a.k.a. Mr. C) seemed to like our guests, especially when they gave him leftover turkey:



Phil and Jill are touring Dogon country this week, and Allyson and I will meet them in Timbuktu next weekend.

It’s hard to believe, but we leave Mali in less than four weeks!

Friday, December 21, 2007


Less than two weeks after hatching, the two dove chicks in the nest on our porch are all grown up, and this afternoon they flew away. I confess to a touch of empty nest syndrome.

Meanwhile, my friends at the blog Literally, A Web Log have discovered the best misuse of “literally” in a long, long time:

“When you take a look at Britney Spears and her behavior, it’s very frightening,” Dr. Timothy Brantley, a PhD who educates patients on the power of food, told the tabloid TV show Access Hollywood. “She’s a person who’s completely addicted to sugar. This is like heroin for a junkie. She’s literally on a roller coaster to hell.”

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Friday, December 14, 2007

There was a reception for the Oscar-winning director Martin Scorsese (Taxi Driver, Raging Bull, et al.) at the ambassador’s residence last night. He was in town to meet with Malian filmmakers. It was a fun night. At one point Marty – yeah, I call him Marty – got up and danced to the Malian music:

And here he is, sharing a laugh with Allyson and her friends:

A lot of Mali’s leading artists were there. Here we are with Salif Keita, the country’s most famous singer and songwriter:

In other news, the dove eggs in the nest on our porch hatched last weekend. It’s hard to get good pictures without disturbing them, but here you can sort of see the mother dove (I assume it’s the mother anyway) feeding one of the chicks (using the popular regurgitation method):

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Not much to report. ... Two doves have taken up residence in the nest on our porch. Can't tell how many eggs they're sitting on, but I will keep you posted. ... I've started writing the new book in earnest. My goal is ten pages a day. ... Allyson and I have started getting ready for the move back to Washington, which is now less than eight weeks away. First order of business: Finding an apartment in Washington. We're also planning a little trip for when we get back in February, so fair warning to our friends in Portland, New York, and St. Louis. ... The weather here in Bamako right now is excellent! There's even a bit of a chill in the morning.