Headed back to Bamako for the weekend for a little R&R and to get my life in order. Sunday will mark the 2 month countdown to the day when I leave Mali, 12 May 2006 at 11:55 pm on Air France. Hmmm, is someone ready to leave???? Honestly, it has more to do with being ready to start the rest of my life (aka the rat race that is 4th year medical school, loans, and that little thing of what the hell to do with the rest of my life) than wanting to leave Mali. I keep wondering if and when I will come back here and in what capacity. Again, answers to questions like that are impossible to predict, and if it was meant to happen it will happen. In other news, I woke up on Wednesday morning, and it was very, very foggy outside. Seeing as we are in the dry season, fog should not be hitting us right now. When I walked outside, I could barely see 5 feet in front of me, and I started coughing non-stop. I then realized what was happening. There are 2 main winds that accompany the dry season. The first happens right at the end of the rainy season, and is called the Alize. It comes from the south, the Atlantic, and blows cool, dry air North. Around January or so, the wind changes direction, and the Hamartan blows hot, dry air from the Sahara Desert South. Occasionally, there are huge sandstorms that accumulate massive amounts of sand, and the sand is carried in the atmosphere South. This manifests itself as a extremely dusty, fog-like cloud that hinders visibility, causes massive eye and respiratory problems, and lingers for sometime weeks. Well, this is exactly what happened Wednesday. I am not sure when visibility will return and my cough will go away, hopefully soon.