The numbers are flying off the alphabet faster than Vanna White in stilettos can click them off the board. We’re up to the letter “T” in this April’s A-Z challenge as I think of new places to add to my bucket list. There’s no way that I could visit all these places if I had two lifetimes to go, but I hope to make some of them. There’s a lot of places that one could go that begins with T: Taiwan (been in the airport and would like to go stay a while), Tajikistan, Tanzania (that’s up on my list but since I can only have on T), Thailand (been there, forget to get a t-shirt), Tibet (I’ve already discussed this), Timor (I had a Chinese man in Singapore once tell me that East Timor had the most beautiful beaches in all the world, so yes, I'd like to go there someday), Togo, Tonga, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Turks and Caicos Islands and Tuvalu (where’s that?).
So where will the letter T bring me? Lots of good options, but there is one that I haven’t mentioned: Timbuktu.
When someone asks me where I’m going and I don’t want to tell them, they get one of two answers. It depends on how much of a smart ass I am that day. I either say, I’m going crazy (and then I invite them to come along) or I say I’m going to Timbuktu. I don’t think you can get much more of an exotic sounding name than Timbuktu. You also can find a variety for spellings for it: Tomboutou, Timbuktu, or Buctoo. Nor could you probably find a more dangerous spot to take a holiday, although not as bad as it was in 2012 when Islamic Extremists took over the city and set out to impose their form of shari law. From my mini-research, it seems no one is really sure what they left as they felt the “shrines” in Timbuktu (which were all Islamic) were idolatry and many were destroyed.
Timbuktu is in the West African country of Mali along the geographic boundary between the Sahara sand and the African savannahs. The name means “mother with a large navel.” I’m not sure if that is complimentary. Historically, it was an important trading route. Because of the people coming and going to the city, once Islam conquered this part of North Africa, a major university developed in Timbuktu. The city also had one of the world's major libraries and it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Certainly, visiting Timbuktu would give you the feeling that you’re at the edge of the world (or maybe you’ve stepped out of the world). If it was safer, it would be a place to set my sights on, but perhaps I should just set my sights on watching the movie “Timbuktu.” I’d not heard of this movie until doing a bit of research but Rotten Tomatoes gives this a 99% good rating (only one tomato thrown out of 107 viewers who rated the film) it must be good. I've never seen such a high rating by Rotten Tomatoes. The movie is about those living around the city and their opposition to the radical Islamic forces invading their land.