NPR/NGS Radio Expeditions
21 Jan 2003
- 16.7758333 -3.0094444
Log of DAT #:21a
Date: January 21, 2003
RC = Roberto Cerea
BO = Baba Oumar
WD = Wade Davis
AC = Alex Chadwick
Leo = Leo del Aguila
0:37 AC-It's not quite 6:30 in the morning in Timbuktu, Mali. The trucks are almost loaded and we're going to start driving north. We're going into the desert probably 500 miles or so, just to the middle of the western desert to a Sahara salt mine. There are 5 trucks from the convoy, three of us from Radio Expeditions, an anthropologist, a photographer, a television crew from NG. It's going to take us three days just to get there, three days, there's no road, just a track in the sand, and a man going with us who knows the way. He can follow this track, he can follow the sand.
2:00 AC-Timbuktu is all gray now. The sand is this just kind of concrete sand color, light gray, and it just blends into the color of the sky. It's dawn, but there's no sun up, it's a little overcast, cloudy. There's a man coming by on a donkey and a couple of people walking, there's some morning fires. The town looks poor and worn down and almost blown away by the desert.
2:52 AC-It's 6:30 in the morning, Timbuktu. We'll leave in a couple of minutes in a truck and start driving 500 miles north to the salt mine.
3:17 AC-Day one, 6:30 in the morning, Timbuktu. The trucks are almost packed. We're going to start out in a couple of minutes, head out of town. There are roads heading out of town and then you hit the desert and nothing, just trackless sand. But there's a man with us, a guide, who can find his way through that sand and read our path all the way north 500 miles to find the salt mine. He's traveled by camel many, many times. Today we're going by truck.
4:45 AC-Roberto, tell me, tell me what's happening now.
RC-What's happening is that we are in front of a series of dunes and there is a possibility to, either we cross in the middle or we turn around and decide left side or right side. And now the decision is up to our guide and we don't take anybody else's decision and so the guide wants to turn around and decide and so we on the west side of the dunes and after we are free, a kind of free, we can a kind of freeway where we want to spend the night.
5:19 AC-But is this different than it's been before?
RC-Yes because in fact there are two ways. There is the way followed by the tracks from Taoudenni, there is a way by the cars going up to Taoudenni. In fact there are two ways and our guide didn't know what he was doing and in fact he was set off for the way we take off usually is the path for the cars, but I think he wanted to use the other one.
6:06 AC-So we're stopped here in the desert because we've run into a sand dune. Well we haven't run into it because it's too big to go over. We're trying to figure out how to get around it. And we've decided to go swing out to the west and try to run around that end and that's where we're going now.
7:01 AC-Uh, you're about to hear a feed that we're going to take off the video camera of an interview that Wade is about to do with a guide that is going to get us across the desert. His name is Baba Oumar. That's B-A-B-A O-U-M-A-R. He's 61 years old.
Lots of set up ambi for the interview.
Interview goes to end- 56:23