Saturday, 28 April 2012

Working out where I live

When I arrived in Bamako, I had no real idea where I lived, which was obviously going to create problems with things like telling taxis how to get there, working out where I could go running, and generally working out what was nearby and what far away. So an early priority was to work out where I lived.

I began on the first night. I walked out of the guesthouse, and wandered around the quartier, looking for buildings that might be marked on google maps or have addresses on their websites. I found the International Organisation for Migration and Canadian Visa Processing Centre (amusingly enough, they're in the same building), and identified a large open space near the guesthouse (= easy to find on google earth). My real win, though, was when I spotted the Radisson only a few streets away from a tarmacked road only 500m from the house. Major hotel chain = DEFINITELY on Google.

Based on this information, I went home and got online. I knew the name of the quartier, and googling the Radisson confirmed I was in the right area. Switching to satellite view, I looked for the open space. Boom. 5 minutes and I had a working theory on where I live. Thank you Ushahidi Haiti for that skill!

Next step - test the theory.

To do this, I designed a running route for the next morning that should have taken me past two roundabouts and the US embassy. 6:30am, and off I set. First roundabout, check. Second roundabout, check. It was deadly hot and I couldn't bear to carry on, so I didn't get as far as the US Embassy, but I did see a white man out running in a Red Sox t-shirt with a dog, so I suspect it wasn't far away.

By this time I was pretty confident in my theory, but just to double check I looked for labels on google maps. The nearest roundabout was called 'Place CAN'. A bit of googling turns out it stands for Place du Coupe Africain des Nations - and when I got there it had a big football in the middle of it, which I thought was fairly unlikely to be a coincidence.

So know I know where I live, and I can tell taxis how to get there and plan running routes.


  1. When you come across 'le jardin d'enfant croix rouge' think cute little Jeroen :-)

  2. Cute and little? That I'll never believe! Surely cute and normal sized, just little relative to now!