Well I think I would rather eat a mixed plate of endives and broccoli, than to be banished to Timbuktu.The view from the airplane is uniform: there is sand as far as your eye can see, speckled with scrawny, misshapen, greyish green trees. I catch a glimpse of a skinny road that just goes and goes and goes.Timbuktu is probably the hottest place on earth to which you'll ever go (unless you choose to live in a volcano, and I wouldn't recommend that either).
Note: though I never did finish this post, here are some additional photos taken by a fellow traveler...
Beautiful, intrincate, carved doors in the old city.
Tight living quarters as we get to the Ammam's place
A craftman shows me how he pounds metallic designs in hard wood.