Back to Filingue
Last night I couldnt sleep. I drank cold green tea with dinner and stayed awake
thinking about the woman and the puppy. Uschi said she couldnt sleep either. The sun
rise this morning was so beautiful. Last night Uschi and I were walking the dogs and I was
suddenly aware of the fact that I was in AFRICA, and seeing a camel walking in the
distance seemed so natural. I think, up until that moment, it had just not seemed real.
Today, we go back to Filingue to get more water - maybe get some pictures of the gray dog
we saw there earlier. We sidetracked to a ranch, an experimental station for
breeding animals for milk and cheese production. Decided to try for a tour. They people
were very friendly. One man even spoke broken English. We were able to get
some water there and also, some nomad goat cheese. It is made in thin sheets, tastes OK,
but is not great. We were also treated to some fresh milk. COLD and FRESH. It was
wonderful. We had Manioc cakes in Filingue, they were much better than the first
ones that I had tried a few days before. There is a lot of sand inside though!
We got a guide in Filingue to help us find the road over the mountain to Ouallam. He took
us to where we could go through a pass for a pack of Marlboros. The Dalal Bosso is the
lower part of the Azawakh Valley. The mountains rise high, but as you go up, you
stay up on a wide plateau for several miles, before going back down gradually. Going
through the mountains was very beautiful. There were deep crevices and high peaks. On the
plateau, were plains of cram-cram grass, millet fields, and small storage huts. The
cram-cram is awful. It is like grass with small cockle burrs, that stick on ours and the
dogs feet. If you dont get it out it will fester and it hurts like hell going in and
out. The dogs have it a lot worse than we do.
Amazingly, the natives and their dogs romp over the cram-cram with their bare feet. Never
seems to bother them at all! They must have feet like stone. The small huts are all over
the country. They store mostly millet inside but sometimes, you come across a whole
village deserted and used only during the growing and harvesting seasons. One such was
Maiyara. We came upon two kids on a donkey laden with millet straw and a deserted village.
We stopped at the well and discovered the name of the town and the well maker - Abubakar.
It still had water inside but was very deep. A young Wodaabe man came out of one of the
huts and Reinhard conversed with him. The way today was overland, no road mostly, just
driving by computer.
Tonight, we camp on the plateau. Its mostly barren, in between Filingue and Douda
Bangou. The terrain is very flat, the ground baked and there are lots of dead and fallen
Not too pretty, but lots of easy firewood and no cram-cram grass. Thank
God. Before stopping, we came upon a small lake. There was a herd of camels watering
there. We got lots of good pictures. So pretty and picturesque. Wish we had stayed there
for the night for it must be watering place for area wildlife. Saw the first wildlife
today, a small ground squirrel and some birds resembling guinea. We see the holes of
lizards, ant hills and termite mounds at the time, but nothing real, like mammals and
To backtrack, the other thing that was interesting at the ranch, was a tree, literally
covered by huge bird nests. Dont know what kind of birds, but they must have been
monsters. Odd thing was, that it was only in one tree. Also, while we were driving today,
Reinhard stopped in this rocky gorge. The rock was really eroded from rain. It looked
almost volcanic in nature. I picked up a few small ones as souvenirs. The
gorges were really interesting. 10-20 feet deep, with trees growing inside. Looked like
the moon or Clan of the Cave Bear territory. For fun, Reinhard took the truck
up a big rocky hill, pausing before the summit to take pictures of the truck on the hill.
Uschi and I waited at the bottom with the dogs. She said, We must be alive. I
agreed. We walked up after the truck was safely on the top.
Tomorrow, we continue to Douda Bangou and on to Ouallam. After that, back to Niamey, so
we can change money, give Dons friends their gifts and shop!! Uschi said there are
lots of good markets there. Reinhard bought some really cool toy vehicles made
from aluminum wire that I would like to buy. Everything on them works.
A jackal visited in the night. Uschi and Reinhard heard him, I was sleeping. We started
across country again in the morning, stopping once at a nearly deserted village in the
bush to ask directions to the pist (road). We finally found it, but it was little better
than the cross country way. The terrain was mixed rocky/sandy/flat/brushy. The sides of
the truck is so scratched by the acacia trees. While we were driving, we saw a baby camel
tied to a donkey. It looked kind of funny.