First priority for the day was to buy a ticket out. The ticket office mentioned in the guides was closed to we had to hike out to the airport. The airport was five kilometers out of town but we managed to flag down a bâché after three km. In the airport buying the ticket was quick and painless (except for the cost of course). On the way back we were able to hitch a ride with a cement truck almost half way.
Back in town we explored the Grand Marché (less than exciting), the Artisan Marché (interesting - but not very); and the Petit Marché (very interesting for the people - mostly Tuaregs - and the variety of food items). Basically we just wandered all over Timbuktu. I've changed my mind about Timbuktu, the people are great, friendly, lots of smiles, and except for the guides surrounding the hotels and taxi park the guides leave you alone. Decided on an afternoon cup of coffee and headed back to the hotel. Near the hotel an old Tuareg in full traditional blue desert gear stopped us to try and sell his tobacco pouch it was simple, well worn in and would make a great travel wallet (worn around the neck) we bargained for a while and stalled with a couple dollar difference so gave up and went for our coffee. When we left a half hour later the old man was waiting for us and Andrea ended up buying the pouch for 1,500 CFA ($3) (and I spent the rest of my time in Tuareg country trying to find a similar one at any price). I felt a little guilty because it was obvious that the man was not happy with the price but really wanted the money, and obviously it was the pouch he used (he spent a few minutes emptying out every scrap of his tobacco).
One of the more typical Tuareg traders talked us into his tent and showed us his wares. I ended up buying a decorative spear that breaks down for easy desert (or backpack) travel. The afternoon was spent wandering the maze of streets around the Djinguereber Mosque (supposedly the first building ever constructed out of mud bricks). The mosque itself is very sensual and we finally managed to bargain the door man down far enough to justify entering it ($1 each). After wandering around the courtyard and prayer hall just hung out on the roof voyeuristically watching the locals go about their business.
Back at the hotel went up on the roof and watched the full (or nearly so) moon rise - perhaps the best moonrise I've ever seen. Walked around until it was fully dark then had diner in a street side shack. Afterwards I went to the hotel restaurant to hang out and have a few beers - basically to absorb as much of Timbuktu as I could before our early departure tomorrow. The sales people were out in force and I entertained myself with them. Bargained on Tuareg knife, tobacco pouch (not nearly as nice as the one Andrea bought), and finally bought a camel leather bag in a somewhat unique black / natural pattern (most are very gaudily colored).