This blog entry was originally posted on April 06, 2006.

TWO DAYS IN PARIS.  After two weeks in Mali, I’d have two transitional days in a Western metropolis before heading home.  It would be my third time in France’s capital city and this time I’d go not as a tourist, but just a tired guy on a layover from Bamako to New York.  I’d heard that flights to JFK were overbooked for four days and so there was no way around chilling out in the so-called “City of Lights” for a couple of days — but I welcomed the time to think and reflect about my journey through Mali to Timbuktu.

I didn’t do much in terms of sightseeing in Paris.  After a hectic time in Mali, I just wanted to detox, take a break from touring, and above all, blogging — it really is a full-time job.  My first afternoon in town, instead of being like the many other Americans touring around on their “big trip to Paris,” I just took a nap in my hotel room.  When I was awake, I just wandered around town with no agenda, not taking notes or jotting down quotes.

So this is what it’s like to be on a vacation, huh?

I stayed at a small loft in a hotel on the Rue Mouffetard in Ernest Hemingway’s old neighborhood, walking distance to a metro stop and many points of interest in the Latin Quarter.  I used the loft as my base of operations as I did as the Parisiens:  people watching at the Cafe Delmas (inspiration for E.H.‘s A Movable Feast), drinking trappiste ales over a platter of moule frites near the Seine, sitting on the steps of Sacre Coeur in the Montmartre with the street musicians as the nighttime lights lit up, and wandering the modern art galleries of the Centre Pompidou.  I got a little antsy wandering around with no real purpose, and for my second day I gave myself a short self-guided Da Vinci Code tour before the movie comes out:  the Hotel Ritz, the inverted pyramids at the Carousel du Louvre, St. Germain-du-Près, and the roseline at St. Sulpice.

Just two days in Paris and I almost forgot that I’d spent two weeks in Mali.  It’s funny how experiences with me lately come in one ear and out the other — quite possibly I’d been ruined from being over-saturated on my big 16-month RTW trip.  I did however reminisce about Mali when I came across one exhibit at the Centre Pompidou that had a couple of Malian statues from Dogon country (picture above), similar to ones I’d seen at the woodcarving shops.  I couldn’t help but smile.

PEOPLE ASK ME if recommend Mali, and I have to say that I despite everything that had happened to me, I still do.  (I actually got off pretty easy; in my other travels, I’d met people who’d been drugged by their “guides” or caught and extorted for drug possession after people had planted drugs on them.)  My experience in Mali was just one experience, and everyone’s is different — different people notice different things, other people cross your path, etc.  If I could give any advice on traveling to Mali, I’d just suggest not to go backpacking alone during the dry season at the hottest time of the year.

As for final thoughts on Van, I’ll just leave it at a stalemate in the mind games; there is always the possibility he was honest the whole time and was just mixed up with the wrong crowd.  He’d shown me business cards and emails of another American he’d guided once, an outreach education guy who saw value in Van and thought perhaps he just needed guidance towards right direction.

As for “Timbuktu,” well, I’m happy that I got there after all the trouble (major bragging rights) and I’m happy that I saw with my own eyes and confirmed that it is just a city with a mythical reputation that it doesn’t necessarily live up to.  But I know that as long as the eternal myth of “Timbuktu” exists, travelers will do whatever it takes to get there, just like the explorers of the 19th century — just not perhaps, travelers who have read this blog.

Next entry: After Timbuktu

Previous entry: Escape From Mali

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Comments for “Epilogue”

  • Tada.

    Posted by Erik TGT

  • all done.. and a no show from TD0T…

    Posted by huled  on  04/06  at  08:17 PM

  • umm..stupid word verification!

    Posted by markyt  on  04/06  at  08:17 PM

  • BTW, if you have the means, check out a feature article about me in the
    latest April 2006 edition of /Filipinas/ magazine (published in
    California for primarily the Filipino ex-pat and Filipino-American
    audience in North America). The article, “Globe At First Sight” about me
    and my trip around the world, was written by /National Geographic
    Traveler/ assistant editor Amy Alipio. Accompanying the article is a
    piece I wrote, “Mistaken Identities” about my experiences blending in as
    a local in many countries.

    The magazine doesn’t have mainstream distribution, but can be found in
    target areas. (NYCers, I got my copy at the B&N in USQ.) Look out for it
    if you can!

    Posted by Erik TGT

  • Awesome blog. I always love reading your adventures…

    Posted by kay  on  04/06  at  09:24 PM

  • Erik aka Doug,
    Once again it’s been a pleasure to be part of your blog. I am having
    serious withdrawal symptons reminiscent of the end of your RTW trip.
    Looking forward to your next great adventure!
    I wonder where Tdot is? And Happy Birthday Lisa!

    Posted by Janice  on  04/07  at  02:06 AM

  • Really enjoyed this latest trip and hope you take another one soon! I
    have a feeling that won’t be soon with all the money they got from you!
    Now it’s back to the grind for you! If nothing else came of this trip it
    sure gave you something to talk about!
    Next crazy night out after a few too many drinks make sure you crank
    call Van. LOL Happy B.D.Lisa!

    Posted by Rose  on  04/07  at  04:35 AM

  • thanks for allowing us to armchair travel once again.
    welcome back to the States!

    Posted by Alyson  on  04/07  at  11:54 AM

  • Welcome back home, Doug! It was a nice story about you in Filipinas

    Posted by Les Morceaux de Reese  on  04/07  at  05:55 PM

  • Erik, thanks again for entertaining me at work.

    I hope to get the heads up before any new adventures start!!

    Tdot….you missed it man!!

    Thanks for the Birthday wishes via the blog Janice and Rose (my mom and
    aunt smile )

    Posted by Lisa  on  04/09  at  12:52 AM

  • MMmmmmm, trappist ales. Chimay?

    Posted by Jordan  on  04/09  at  07:25 PM

  • So, when and where’s the next trip?

    Posted by Yvette  on  04/09  at  09:51 PM

  • JORDAN: Chimay Blonde to be more specific… so good once it hits your lips.

    YVETTE: To be determined. Something a little easier next time though.

    TDOT: Where are you?

    Posted by Erik TGT

  • FYI: For those interested in reading, the /Filipinas/ feature on me can
    be accessed off my main page on TheGlobalTrip.com

    Posted by Erik TGT

  • Chimay Blonde <http://www.ratebeer.com/beer/chimay-blanche-(white)/52>
    is a great beer. Lucky for us Americans we can get it naerly anywhere.

    Do you ever go to the Spuyten Duyvil in Brookyln? Great beer bar…

    Posted by Jordan

  • whats all the buzz about being the first comment when you can be sweet

    Posted by Elisa  on  04/12  at  09:35 AM

  • I found Chimay in Taipei too! Not that I drink beer, nor am I allowed to
    drink any alcohol till tomorrow, but I saw a sign for it!!

    Posted by tallgirl

  • I just read the whole thing. It sounds like a nightmare. I have a strong
    dislike for agressive touts and do my best to dismiss them fairly at first.

    I know that you have done a bit of travelling. Would you say the tout
    situation you experienced in Mali is the worst yet?

    Would you say there is a way to basically just tell them all to fuck off
    and have it work, or is that just adding fuel to the fire. Is there a
    way to be free of them?

    Posted by Michael Simon

  • a way to be free of them in a straight up way, without playing the games
    back at them is what I mean.

    Posted by Michael Simon

  • I’ve never been or even heard of Spuyten Duyvil in Brooklyn. Let’s
    follow JORDAN’s lead and go there! We should celebrate Doug’s return

    Posted by Les Morceaux de Reese  on  04/16  at  07:37 PM

  • i hope you are safe and sound. i called u but i guess that u were
    traveling. i was planing to introduce u to my soccer friends in Queens
    and invite u for great argentinian asado…
    next time.

    take a look and give me your feedback:


    Posted by Alex el mochilero

  • At the risk of sounding like a stalker or groupie, you are my new idol
    and I’m following you whereever you go! lol

    Seriously, you are a man after my own heart. I am in awe of your courage
    and passion for travel, and I wish I could do the same. Maybe someday.

    Thank you for sharing it all with us.

    from a fellow Filipina smile

    Posted by christine

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This blog post is one of eighteen travel dispatches from the trip blog, "The Global Trip: Trippin' To Timbuktu" (originally hosted by Blogger.com), which chronicled a trip through the West African nation of Mali in March-April 2006.

Next entry:
After Timbuktu

Previous entry:
Escape From Mali


Confused at some of the jargon that's developed with this blog and its readers over the years? Here's what they mean:

BFFN: acronym for "Best Friend For Now"; a friend made on the road, who will share travel experiences for the time being, only to part ways and lose touch with

The Big Trip: the original sixteen month around-the-world trip that started it all, spanning 37 countries in 5 continents over 503 days (October 2003–March 2005)

NIZ: acronym for "No Internet Zone"; a place where there is little to no Internet access, thus preventing dispatches from being posted.

SBR: acronym for "Silent Blog Reader"; a person who has regularly followed The Global Trip blog for years without ever commenting or making his/her presence known to the rest of the reading community. (Breaking this silence by commenting is encouraged.)

Stupid o'clock: any time of the early morning that you have to wake up to catch a train, bus, plane, or tour. Usually any time before 6 a.m. is automatically “stupid o’clock.”

The Trinidad Show: a nickname of The Global Trip blog, used particularly by travelers that have been written about, who are self-aware that they have become "characters" in a long-running story — like characters in the Jim Carrey movie, The Truman Show.

WHMMR: acronym for "Western Hemisphere Monday Morning Rush"; an unofficial deadline to get new content up by a Monday morning, in time for readers in the western hemisphere (i.e. the majority North American audience) heading back to their computers.

1981ers: people born after 1981. Originally, this was to designate groups of young backpackers fresh out of school, many of which were loud, boorish and/or annoying. However, time has passed and 1981ers have matured and have been quite pleasant to travel with. The term still refers to young annoying backpackers, regardless of year — I guess you could call them "1991ers" in 2013 — young, entitled millennials on the road these days, essentially.

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