I had just checked into my hotel located in the heart of the downtown Bamako after a late night flight from Abidjan. Sauntering out into the balmy desert night, I decided to get something to eat and drink in the hotel’s small garden café before going to bed. Sitting at the large dining table were at least six young gentlemen from Bamako and a hippiesh white lady from New York. The white lady had a real horror story to tell. They were enjoying a round of beers and welcomed me with smiling faces as I joined them at the table. After making some introductory chitchat, I had a hunch that most of these guys were local touts but they seemed harmless enough. After finishing my late night dinner and beer, I excused myself and went to bed.
Unfortunately, I didn’t get too much rest that first night in Bamako as the cavernous room was occupied by some mosquitoes that pestered me the whole night. In the morning, I walked outside the hotel to be greeted by some of the same gentlemen that I met the night before in the garden cafe. It was then that it dawned on me that this hotel was Tout Central. As this hotel was infested by both mosquitoes and touts, I made a decision to relocate to a more secluded (and better) hotel for the balance of my brief stay in Bamako.