At the end of the 3 days, we arrived at a port which was still about 10 miles from Timboktu, so we hired a van to take us into town and then we all split up looking for lodging for the next couple of nights. Erin had organized rooms for us in an old caravanserie. It was a bit dreary so on our walk through town we discovered a brand new hotel had opened up and we moved the next morning. While having our breakfast we were hounded by Tuareg salesmen. Finally, we promised one we would go see his "shop" after we had made our move. His shop was actually just his home which was a berber hut on the outskirts of town.
The ritual inside the hut was to first have tea, their version being a sugary concoction, and then get down to bargaining. They showed us their stock, mostly a few pieces of jewelery, and we would bid, then everyone would laugh at each other (asking too much, bidding too low) until an agreement was made. We actually had a good time with these guys.
Timboktu actually translates to Boctou's Well. This is it, supposedly. At one time, the only well for hundreds of miles. Our guide took us to a museum where we could see on display some very old Korans and even more interesting for us sailors, an ancient disk used to navigate caravans across the desert by the stars.