A New Market Adventure – Over the River and Down the Road! On the way to the market we stopped at several villages to greet the chiefs. I love visiting the old men of the villages. They're usually adorable and very kind! On arriving at the river bed we parked our car. This was as far as it could go. Trucks are here delivering people and goods headed to the same market. This area is usually under water in the rainy season! Tim starts down to try and find a donkey cart to take us to the water. We find a cart and pay way more than normal since everyone else is looking for carts as well. Our "ride"! And off we head. Looking back on where we've come from.... ....and ahead to where we're going. Soon a group of girls caught up to us and accomanied us along the way! Arriving at the Niger River, shrunk down to walking depth during the dry season. Some folks were out with their fishing nets. The motorcycles are waiting for the big boats to come back so they can load up and head across. Others wait with their goods. We found a little mini boat, which, for about 10 cents, took us across the river. These are the girls that took us across. Honestly it was tempting to just jump in and join the swimmers. The temp was high that day, and the sun blistering hot! Arriving at the other side. The top edge of that cliff is where the water usually reaches on this side in the rainy season. Another donkey cart on this side (at regular price, another 10 cents) and we start heading toward the town to market. Suddenly I hear, "Take my photo!!" (in French, of course!) Our chauffeur for this part of the trip, Idrissa. The long, hot, dusty road ahead! And we reach the market. Our first stop was to greet the government officials, but I didn't risk photos there....yet. This was the town in which Tim was almost arrested on one of his visits because he was a "stranger". Now everyone is friendly, and the prefect wants to marry our niece! I love all the colors in the markets. With the backdrop of the dry, dusty landscape, the markets look almost alive! Sodas, batteries, sweetened condensed milk....one stop shopping! These are showing up here and there. Little metal cups are fabricated and a vanilla "ice cream" is frozen with a stick. For about a nickel, it's a great treat in the heat!! Heading back now. We passed these brick making places. We're back to the river now. Boats are still bringing people to the market. Our next helper. Here are the bigger boats mentioned before that can carry motos and larger items with a lot of people. We arrive at the other side of the river and look for a donkey cart to get us across this mass of sand. No carts!!! They must not start running again until later in the day. So we hoof it. Tim offers to carry everything for me including my purse! We finally make it back to our car and the AIR CONDITIONING!! Looking back to where we just walked. Again, in rainy season, this whole thing is full of the waters of the mighty Niger, pretty much up to where we parked our car! More chief visits on the way home. I promise them each a printed out photo on the next trip. And one more chief. During a lull in the conversation he picked up this twine and started making his rope! I guess he felt comfortable with us! We all sat in his greeting room, the floor of which was covered in various skins to sit on. We were given chairs, though. After this we headed home for a good long nap!!