Set off for town with Andrea. Stopped at a small food market (definitely a locals thing - we were a major attraction) and I got to try some new deep fried sugary things (continuing my quest to try every deep fried thing on the continent). Near town I tried the bank that Lonely Planet said would do a Visa cash advance (the two guide books gave conflicting info - as usual), but it wouldn't. Tried the other bank and had cash in less than ten minutes (amazing by African standards - score one for The Rough Guide). I went to check email at the ritzy tourist hotel's business office (at London prices!). I only had an hour until the office closed for the afternoon so I barely had a chance to start on the 75 emails after uploading my journal.
I met up with Andrea at the Centre Artisanal (an artists and craftsmen cooperative gallery / studios). The Centre was a little disappointing price wise, but there were some amazing pieces - surprisingly a lot with modern influences. We then decided to hit the Grand Marché. I'd heard a lot of warnings about the aggressiveness of the venders at the Marché, so I thought I was ready - I was wrong. I wasn't having fun so I left Andrea and found a small café that was an island of calm on the upper level. After a cold drink and two servings of the amazingly good local yogurt I was in a better state of mind and I tried again. This time I had a blast exploring the various stalls and sections of the market. The food section was a riot of colors - for some reason Burkina Faso has amazing fruits and vegetables (I had the best banana of my life here). In the crafts section I bargained long and hard and probably made a few enemies but ended up buying a large pagnes of mud cloth and a couple small necklaces. I also bought a ac adapter to replace the one I left in Bamako for my H/PC so I can go back to using rechargeable batteries instead of disposables.
Met of with Andrea again and we went by the Peace Corps office to see if we could find any info (or help with getting some info) on busses to Niamey (yes we're going to try the border without visas). No one knew anything and none of the bus companies were answering their phones so I decided to go to the gare of the company we thought serviced Niamey - it doesn't. I met up with Andrea again to try and figure out what to try next and we agreed to put it off until tomorrow.
Andrea headed for the hotel and I decided to splurge (again - this is almost a week in a row)on diner. I had an amazing (it was soooo good) pizza (garlic and basil - tons of each), and a huge decadent ice cream construction. A much needed walk got me back to the hotel.