Monday, March 28, 2011


The power is off. The power is on. The power is off. The power is on. The wi-fi is off and the power is on.

Bamako is screwing with me. And I paid for air con. Dammit, Bamako, stop the power cuts.

Nevertheless, I dutifully dressed as well as I could given the state of my wrinkled clothing, and hurried down to the Embassy of Nigeria this morning. The application process took moments.

"Come back tomorrow at 2:30."

2:30? Crap. I'd been hoping for earlier, so I could apply for (or try to apply for) my Ghana visa the same day. I'd still try, but odds were I'd miss the window I needed at the Ghana embassy.

I got another iced coffee at Amandine and then headed back to Sleeping Camel. Martin, a German master auto mechanic who was driving home to Spain after working in Senegal had driven in while I was out, and he freaked me out a bit. Personality-wise, he was so identical to my ex, who is also a German in development work. I found myself both interested and repelled. I wanted to know more, but every time I talked to him, I instinctively made all kinds of snap judgments about Martin as a person. I'd have to try harder not to assign Herr Marlboro's personality to this poor man I'd just met. Anyway, he gave me a whole papaya.

I also spent some time organizing my Ghana documents. I wanted to prove to them that I'd left home before the rules changed. This wasn't true, of course. But I needed to do everything I could to try to get the visa. Otherwise, I'd have to skip Ghana, which seemed a shame given that I was here already.

Ghana had changed their visa rules in January, but I'd done my research a few months earlier. I'd totally missed the change and hoped that they wouldn't hold it against me. Anyway, my plane receipt now reflected my cover story. I ran down and printed it out at the internet cafe.

And so I sat in my room or in the common area and sweltered. Mali is hot. Even hotter when the ceiling fans and A/C keep going out.

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