Driver picked me up as promised, and we were off to see more of Niamey. First thing on my agenda was the mosque. Built around 10 years ago, it was a gift from Colonel Qadaffi of Libya when he was in his big rah rah I’m the uniter of the African people phase and was lavishing gifts around the continent. Real sorry how things ended for ya bud….
On the way to the mosque, some goats hanging out on the side of the road.
The mosque’s minaret:
We walked up to the mosque, and were met by a curator who had keys to show us around. No money expected, but there were more than enough places we could make a “small donation” to show our appreciation. So it began…
No expert in mosque architecture, I’m not certain what this fixture inside the mosque is for.
Part of the main prayer hall:
Large outdoor area, an extension of the main prayer room:
Corridor area along the edge:
The “womens’ prayer room.” Note the donation box in the middle, which he made sure I saw:
Looking up in the main prayer hall:
Another shot outside the mosque:
Trying to get artistic taking shots of the minaret:
From the other side of the expansive parking lot:
We still had a bit of time, so my driver asked if I was interested in seeing the women’s craft centre. I was sure this was just going to be one of those places they take tourists for kickbacks, but since I hadn’t seen a single tourist in all of Niamey, how bad could it be? It was mildly interesting, and my driver asked if I mind if he excused himself for 30 minutes to pray while I wandered. Anyone for a crocodile hide bag?
Everything was very reasonably priced, and I got a couple of clay jars and a plate, along with a small figurine to remind me of my visit. Not nearly as bad as most tourist markets, mainly because they just let me wander around and take my time. One thing I’ve neglected to do enough of is get souvenirs when I travel, so I’ve tried to make much more point to do this in the last year.
Driving back from the mosque, I noticed this ad by a Bank. Tabaski is a west african islamic holiday where families that can afford it are expected to buy a goat to slaughter and share. This bank was advertising that they could help people get money to buy a goat…clever!
So, then the quest began. I was ready to be done, but my driver reminded me that I wanted post cards. We tried two more markets, to no avail. Then he went off, and basically began asking everyone he could find where we could find some. It took him nearly 20 minutes of wandering, but finally someone told him about a visitor information shop where they thought they had once seen such a thing.
JACKPOT! Went in and there were probably 20 different postcards to choose from! Wrote them out quickly, and the only challenge remaining, since it was after 5pm at this point was to find somewhere to mail them. We drove to the main post office of Niamey, and sure enough they were still open…and even had a helpful sign advertising when the mail went out by plain each day by air:
It was approaching 6 at this point, and I wanted to relax a bit before dinner. The peacocks were out in full force wandering around my hotel:
I’d managed to get a decent lay of the land during the day, and knew the large Grand Hotel du Niger was just a short walk away, and was supposed to have a large patio near the river that was a great place to gather for drinks and kebobs. I skipped on the kebobs, but did decide to have a couple local beers to try them out. Not bad at all!
Selfie in Niger!
Back to the hotel and dinner, since I had to be up very early the next morning to catch my flight to Burkina Faso!
That piece of architecture in the Mosque you were wondering about is called a Minbar. The Imam gives his sermons from there. it’s a pulpit.
As usual, you are one step ahead of me. I’m posting this comment from the Grand Hotel in Niamey, heading to Ouagadougou tomorrow and then to Abidjan!
Went to the National Museum today; can’t believe Wikitravel calls it one of West Africa’s finest. Bad museum. Bad.
Hopefully you had brochettes on the lanai at the Grand Hotel!