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Sahara

Day 42: Djenné

Michael Palin - Sahara'That's my cousin, he's crazy!...Her brother knows my sister...He is my friend, he owes me money.'

There is no sheep shop as such. Pigmy merely pushes through until he finds a man standing on a corner with a few animals around him. He is a lot older than Pigmy with a pinched face, shrewd moustache and white skullcap. After handshakes and banter he indicates his best beast and Pigmy squats down and begins to feel around.

'It should be a really good and complete sheep, you see.' His voice drifts up from somewhere down by its backside. 'Not with one eye or one leg.' He examines its balls closely. 'Should be like a very nice sheep.'

Pigmy straightens up and turns to the sheep merchant, pointing out a tiny contusion on its nose. 'You have some problem here.' He shakes his head and ostentatiously starts to look elsewhere.

The sheep seller knows that with less than twenty-four hours to go before Tabaski he may well get left with surplus animals. Numbers are discussed. Pigmy haggles him down from 40,000 to 37,500 francs, about £37.50. A lot of money, but as Pigmy says it is an important festival and a man in his position is expected to buy the best he can. Two boys are summonsed and sent to deliver the beast to Pigmy's house. We plough on into the crowd.
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PALIN'S GUIDES

  • Series: Sahara
  • Day: 42
  • Country/sea: Mali
  • Place: Djenné
  • Book page no: 129

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