After dinner Ahmed suggested to invite some men for a traditional Tuareg music session. A great idea! Two days before, in the truck, I had heard some tapes of the Tuareg “war” songs and the tunes were still echoing in my head.
A young guitar player arrived and after tea the private concert started. Busee sang and Conan made the rhythm using flip-flops on a calabash shell. It was really great! The little courtyard was full of people and we had fun dancing and singing. I tipped them 2000 CFA and a box of cigarettes (just to give an idea).
Listen to a sample of this amazing concert by clicking on the link on the intro page!!!
Around 4.30 PM the caretaker returned to close the Fort again, but unfortunately he broke his key in the front door. What a pity…he had to renew the lock, that first had to be ordered from the Agadez truck on its next arrival. I decided the young man deserved a good tip…
I just wandered around the gardens and the village until darkness. The end of the afternoon is a great time; the sun is not burning anymore, the light is great and the people come alive again…
Continued at Transportation Tips 2nd page somewhere
continued from "Transportation Tips"
It was dark when we finally wandered through the alleys in Timia to the house of “a friend”.
We arrived totally unexpected and quite late, but Ahmed, owner of one of the two little stores in the oasis town, welcomed us in as best friends.
The mud brick house was extended with a walled 10m2. courtyard, some large prayer mats covering the sand. In the centre was the tea stove, coal still glowing, some men sitting around it in finest Tuareg dress. This was the place for socializing, for guests, for friends, for the daily tea drinking rituals.
I decided to spend the hot hours of the day in the Fort, a few hours alone for the first time in many days. I had to ask permission of the Chief, after which Conan went looking around for the caretaker. T
he hike up the hill is short and not difficult, about 15 minutes if you’re slow. Once inside the Fort you can open all windows and take one of the mattress, very relaxing. A Western style toilet has been build just outside.
I found a guestbook used by previous visitors to write down anecdotes. The last dated back 8 months earlier, when a German group apparently lodged here. Great read and of course I made an addition too.
Also inside the Fort there’s a little souvenir stall with some Tuareg jewellery and carvings. I admired some paintings made by local artists, one of which representing a fantastic map of the whole region.
Fondest memory: On top of one of the hills surrounding Timia is the Fort Massu. It has been a small outpost for the French in the nineteen fifties and is recently restored and open for tourism. It is aimed to use as a guesthouse.
On the way back we stopped at some gardens to buy fresh dates and fruits. You can observe the irrigation methods, a practise that is most important here.
Big bags of water has sometimes to be pulled up from 20 meters or deeper and it’s camels or cows doing that job. When the water reach the surface it’s guided all along the gardens through a system of channels.
With Busee I went to the nearby small village of Tassalwat (pop. 1000), where he was born. A lovely but hot one hour walk passing many gardens of palms and fruit trees. The village itself is not especially interesting but as we visited his family and some friends I enjoyed it.
You can also see how the village is developing rapidly with recently a school built, and with a medical centre under construction. Finally prove of well spent aid money.
Next morning Moussa was less sure about a possible ride back to Agadez. The truck didn’t arrive yet and even if it would arrive today, it would stay here at least some days to gather new load. But he didn’t add that; I just knew. Then the ride to Agadez would take two full days, so now I was almost sure to miss the festival in Ingall.
The only car permanently in Timia was an ambulance funded by a noble Swiss (?) photographer who had raised money by selling his photo’s as postcards at home. Maybe I could fake a heart attack?
Fondest memory: By 4PM I went out for a short walk around Timia, sitting down here and there. It was the time to enjoy the friendliness of mostly the women and the children as most men were either working in the gardens or having their long rest. Although it was hard to communicate it was big fun.
When we reached Ahmed’s home I was sweating again. We retired to the open room next to the courtyard, where we had an excellent lunch and rested until late in the afternoon.
That’s the way to survive. Stay inside during the burning 40 degrees and up temperatures between noon and 4 pm, and sleep outside at night.
The waterfall itself is not very voluminous or high but the whole scene is very pretty and in such a hot climate a cold bath is highly welcome of course. In fact there are three pools. The main pool at the bottom is where you can swim and where local people may wash clothes.
If you scramble up next to the 1 meter high fall you’ll find a second shallow pool. Here is a great place to relax in the shade for several hours. One more stage up there’s another tiny but very deep pool. Local children approach this part of the fall from above and then heroically jump in it from about 3 meters.
From Timia to the cascade is a scenic half an hour walk, partly ploughing through sand, partly on hard lava stone surface, best undertaken in the early hours of the day
. In former days the cascade was not reachable by vehicle, but thanks to an initiative of a German organisation, a steep track hewn out in the rocks down to the valley now allows tourgroups-in-a-hurry to go all the way to the pool by 4WD.
After breakfast I went with Moussa, Busee and Conan to the cascade, the natural wonder that makes Timia worth a stop for regular tour groups too.
Here you can take a refreshing swim in a small but refreshing pool and laze in the cool shadow of the eroded rocks. I didn’t know what to expect.
A waterfall in the desert? Actually I couldn’t believe it. But the first sign of it appeared about 20 minutes out of Timia. A little stream that would disappear completely in the following month(s). A colony of women and girls were washing clothes here.
During my stay in Timia, Moussa was most of the time not with me, but he arranged everything perfectly.
It’s rare that travellers arrive here without a guide, but if you do, you might visit Ahmed’s store; I’m sure he’ll help.
I was in very good hands with Ahmed and his family. A friend called Busee and Conan would accompany me and show me around very satisfactory. Conan did go to school, but returned not long after our breakfast. School starts very early in Timia, I guess keeping in mind temperature and possibly also the work children do for their families.
When I went down, Moussa already awaited me at Ahmed’s house for breakfast. Again the rather unappealing porridge, although especially for me Moussa had brought some (even more unappealing) biscuits and peanuts. I usually politely refused and took just some fresh dates and fruits. And tea of course.
Yesterday evening late Moussa he had visited the Chief and learned that a truck probably would leave for Agadez day after tomorrow, on Tuesday. Which would mean I could possibly reach the Festival, that started Thursday, in time! “Wow, that sounds to ideal too be true”, I thought.
Note that there are no food stalls or something like that in Timia, so if you don’t have a host, buy or (better) bring your own food. Probably you will be invited, but still then it’s good to bring the unprepared food!