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On the Saturday of my departure for two weeks in Mali, Baby Z and I attended the SW DC Arts Festival. Compared to last year, this year's events were quite dispersed, so we settled on visiting Blind Whino, the kaleidoscopic-colored church down the street. We didn't stay for long in the dark, cool, interior, but we did enjoy small versions of pumpkin, sweet potato, and apple pies. In the meantime MoBob had gone to a local farm with a group of friends to slaughter a sheep for Tabaski (Eid al-Adha, celebrating 40 days after the end of Ramadan). He returned early to take me to the airport; I ended up missing festivities in both the US and Mali.

This was my second or third time taking the humongous Airbus 380. On the plane I watched "Glee" for the first time, the religion episode. We had a long layover in Paris-CDG airport and I didn't feel up to taking the Air France bus into town, so we camped out in the Air France lounge. Unfortunately all the couches had arm rests so it was difficult to sleep but I did have a very nice shower complete with towels and toiletries.

I had last visited Mali in 2012 and even then I stayed in Bamako. This time we went up to Mopti, which I hadn't seen in ten years. I was heartened to see progress - young ladies speaking French and breastfeeding - but also sad to see the demise of the tourist industry because of the recent unrest. Piccies forthcoming.

On the flight back I watched a very sexy thriller called The Last Diamond which I'm sure will be re-made by Americans at some point, and also, at last, The Artist. Faithful readers may recall that I've been a big fan of Jean Dujardin for a long time, and hadn't realized that both of the movies I saw on the plane featured Bérénice Bejo who is lovely in both speaking and non-speaking roles. I was curious about the Deaf community's perspective on the movie: And its central theme, that of a silent movie star learning to live in the world of the talkies, is pretty much a metaphor for my new life.

I arrived back on Saturday, and pretty much slept for most of the weekend. Late Sunday afternoon we made our way to one of the great institutions of Washington DC, the drum circle at Malcom X Park/Meridian Hill Park. Baby Z absorbed it all with his usual cool demeanor.
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