After Thanksgiving I took a short excursion to Niamey, the capital of Niger. Niamey doesn't sport so many tourist attractions as it does carry a very interesting ambiance which probably is the product of a collussion of variables: its proximity to the desert, being in the position to showcase some of the most interesting cultures of West Africa (Hausa and Taureg, among others), its status as the capital of one of the most Muslim countries in Sub-Saharan Africa, and--sadly--one of the poorest nations in the world.
Among other adventures, during my 4 days in Niger I had dinner on the Niger river; saw wild giraffes; went Taureg leather and silver-goods shopping; and was crammed into a truck bed with 28 other human beings and several chickens.
In theory no proper Niger excurion is complete without going further North into Agadez (which is to Niger what Timbucto was to Mali and its historical desert trade routes), and making a camel trip into the desert. Unfortunately, an ongoing Tuarag rebel movement has pretty much Agadez and northward too dangerous for passage.
Unfortunately my currently slow internet connection is prohibiting me from showcasing photos here; but they are alreay up on my Picassa account if you're interested, along with other photos from the last 4 months. However, I did have to take whatever time was necessary to upload this photo: