Tuesday, March 29, 2011


I finally got my meningitis vaccination. There's a private clinic just down the road from Sleeping Camel. Pricey--when they quoted me 20,000 CFA (about $40), I'd been okay with that. But they totally neglected to tell me I had to pay another 20,000 for a "consulation" with the doctor.

Of course, there was no offer of just getting the jab without a doctor in the room.

I had this problem once in New York too. I had a long argument with the staff at the international clinic, and they kept going on about how I needed to talk to the doctor so I'd know what was safe to do abroad, but of course, I have had bajillions of these "consultations" in the past and yes, I know mosquitos come out at dusk and not to drink the water and not to lick the street or stick my hands down a strange dog's throat.

But it was still cheaper than at home. But I lost the difference in the cost of the Nigerian visa, which cost me more here than in New York. But I didn't have to show a letter of invitation here, which I had no idea how to get. So it's a wash, in the end.

I showed up at the Nigerian embassy just before 2:30 and got my passport. I checked the visa. Yep, all was in order. I walked back to the main road and hailed a taxi.

"Embassy of Ghana in ACI deux mille, s'il vous plais."

And we were off, choked in the hideous midday traffic of Bamako, me trying not to sweat too much in my nice clothes in the heat of the afternoon.

My taxi driver asked around and eventually found the Embassy of Ghana.

Which was closed.

"Come back tomorrow," said the guard. "We close at 2:30."

Of course.

I hailed another taxi. As it slowed, I asked one more question.

"Do you know if it's possible to get a visa here?"

"Of course," he said stiffly. "Don't worry. You will get your visa."

I'd try in the morning, then. 

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