Pink sandstone houses carved into the cliffs, mud brick mosques, lively markets, and sunrises in the desert over the legendary city of Timbuktu. Come take a closer look at Mali.
A closer look 說古論今
Landlocked Mali is the world's 24th largest country, and one of the poorest. At the same time, it is one of Africa's most stable countries both politically and socially and offers much to the traveller in terms of indigenous culture, handicrafts and some pretty unusual landscapes.
Much of Mali is flat and 65 percent is covered by the Sahara desert or semi-desert. This leaves the country prone to droughts and makes agriculture tricky. One way round this is to grow crops in pots on the cliff face like Mali's largest indigenous people, the Dogon.
The Niger river, Africa's third longest river, is central to the country's trade and livelihood. Around 80 percent of the labor force live off farming and fishing. Another 10 percent are nomadic. Fortunately Mali has considerable reserves of gold, uranium, salt and phosphates. Their main export is cotton. Mali is particularly famed for bogolon, hand painted cloth dipped into dyes made from mud over a period of several weeks.
Djenne, just west of the Bani river, is home to the world's largest mud brick structure, the Grand Mosque. The city is also unusual in that in the rainy season, the river rises around it and makes the city an island.
Typical meals in Mali are Poulet Yassa, grilled chicken in chilli sauce, and Riz Yollof, vegetables or meat in oil and tomatoes. Couscous, rice and fried bananas are staple foods.
馬利最具代表性的料理是Poulet Yassa（紅番椒醬烤雞）和Riz Yollof（油蕃茄蔬菜或肉），主食則是北非小米、米飯和炸香蕉。
WHO KNEW? 你知道嗎?
Mali has several tribes, the largest of which are the Bambara who account for more than 30 percent of the population and whose language is widely spoken. In fact, the capital of Mali, Bamako, means "place of the crocodiles" in the Bambara language.
The most renowned tribe, the Dogon, makes up only 5 percent of the population. However, they are one of Africa's oldest tribes and their way of life has remained relatively unchanged for thousands of years. The majority of their villages are built along a 200km escarpment near Timbuktu, and their homes are often built into the cliffs. There are around 700 Dogon villages.
Masks play an important role in Dogon culture, in religious ceremonies, funerals, rain welcoming ceremonies and events honoring guests. The Dogon are also famed for their woodcarvings and mudcloth.
A LOOK AT CONTEXT 思前想後猜字義
1. The children and elderly are prone to catching cold in the winter months.
Prone means ...
2. We noticed that our table was wobbly. We called the waiter over and he placed a wedge of paper under one of the table legs. After he had done this we found the table to be perfectly stable.