When I was in Bamako I went to see Malick Sidibe, the photographer who just won the Venice Biennale, thus confirming what we already knew: Mali is currently the coolest place on earth.
I found the great man sitting outside his portrait studio (which he set up in 1958) shaving himself in a cracked mirror. Having congratulated him on his great success we chatted for a while and I told him about Hotel Djenne Djenne and my life here in Mali. I hardly dared ask him if he could do me a portrait, but he suggested taking one of me on Xaloc!
All going well Hotel Djenne Djenno, its staff and live stock as well as Keita and me will be photographed by one of the greatest photographers alive as soon as he can get up here!
Darkness is now complete. Keita and I will sleep on the roof like we did last night. Lovely to see him and all of Djenne in fact - everyone seems pleased to see me and every one tells me immediately that I have put on lots of weight and that they hardly recognize me because I am so fat. Can't quite bring myself to thank them for what to them is a compliment, but just smile sweetly (well, try to).
I was somewhat alarmed to hear that Keita, in cahoots with his pal from the hospital Dr. Cisse, borrowed the hospital generator for a soiree dansante to celebrate the anniversary of the death of Bob Marley on the 11th of May. It was a great success it appears, but what about those poor people in intensive care at the hospital if the power had failed in Djenne like it often does??? And apparently they opened the hotel for the Peace Corps administrators too, using the same electricity source. I wonder what they would have thought about it if they knew....? Bref, all is well and there were no power cuts so Hotel Djenne Djenno has not incurred any deaths yet as far as we know.