Friday, December 19, 2008

A Bout Trip

Luke Ardill had been in Niger almost a year and was on his way out. He was staying with us and Suzanne suggested that we do something "touristy". She, Luke, and others went to the museum. There they met a guy who asked if they wanted to ride in his "bout". He spoke fairly good English, but he kept pronouncing "boat" as "bout". Like, I had a bout of malaria. Anyway, they agreed to meet him on Saturday for an outing in his bout.

It was a lot of fun being a tourist for a day. His bout was a large canoe, or pirogue, made out of wood. It was equiped with an outboard motor. It leaked a little and he did some bailing, but it wasn't so bad that it was scary. He had cushions in the boat and we relaxed on the cushions. "We" was John and I, Luke, Suzanne, and three of her classmates: Trae, Phil, and Tam.
It was nice to get away from the noise and bustle of the city and just float along peacefully. I made a bit of a lunch and we ate that as we floated along.

The owner of this boat must have Zain as his cell phone company. The cell phone companies here have signature colors that identify them. Even if you are illiterate you know which kiosk sells your recharge cards. Zain is pink and yellow.John made friends with the owner of the bout. He isn't the one who called it the bout....that guy was the travel agent. The owner is Songhai and is from Mali. They talked together for a long time.

We went along for almost two hours and finally got to a place where there were hippos in the river. It looked like there were two together and one looked smaller, so we assumed it was a mother and her baby. The other one was in a place apart. The bout man didn't want to get too close as angry hippos are very dangerous.

It was a really fun day. I'm so glad Suzanne found the bout man!


Amanda said...

I remember doing this, we went to the island where the western pottery lady lives.

Dusty Penguin said...

That sounds like a lot of fun. We never did a "bout" trip like that. We crossed the Gambia River once in one and it WASN'T a pleasure trip! It was one of those trips that improves your prayer life.

Hannatu said...

Well, you were basically in the ocean with huge waves. Ours was pretty smooth sailing! I'm terrified of deep water, tippy boats, etc. and I wasn't even afraid. Had I been in your bout I probably would have died of fright!

Ishtar said...

My friend and I did that in 2004. The boat trip was great (what a photo op!) but we never saw the hippoes. Our boat was very much smaller than yours, so maybe it was best that way (not meeting them). I remember thinking how easily they would overturn us if we came up too close, too fast!

Merry Christmas!