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Absolute Desert

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Michael reaches the legendary city of Timbuktu on a camel train carrying the giant salt blocks that made the city one of the greatest centers of Islamic learning up until the 16th century. He wanders through the rubble that is 21st century Timbuktu to find an Imam who shows him astronomical textbooks that pre-date Galileo's discoveries by 200 years. Leaving one of Timbuktu's most famous addresses -- the house of Alexander Laing, the Scottish explorer who had his throat slit for not converting to Islam -- Michael heads East to the land of the Wodaabe.


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