Tuesday, April 5, 2011

That Elusive Visa

I'd crawled in late and exhausted, but I was still up early. The suspense had to end. Was I getting my Ghana visa?

"We're going to ACI deux-mille to go grocery shopping," said Bill. "We'll give you a lift. It's a good time to be out anyway. The shit-truck is coming at 10:30."

Duly noted. Also of note: Africans generally don't swear like Americans. But some of the staff had started referring to the septic truck as the shit-truck. It's just so apt.

And so the Sleeping Camel staff delivered me in comfort to the Ghana Embassy. I walked in, worried about all the people there filling out visa applications ahead of me, but the receptionist spotted me and waved me over. She smiled as she handed me my passport.

I had it. I was going to Ghana.

But why had I gotten this visa so easily? Bill sorted it out later.

"It's the length of your Mali visa. Your Mali visa is good for five years, and that's good enough to be considered residence in the eyes of the visa officer."

Who am I to argue?

I was finished early and didn't want to go hang out with the shit-truck, plus I'd learned from my stunt last week to buy my bus ticket early. I got a taxi to Sogoniko, the bus gare, and went to the Bittar office to buy my bus ticket for Burkina Faso.

I was a little puzzled, as I wanted a TCV bus ticket. But I'd heard that TCV was at the Bittar stand. Even the ticket said TCV. I clarified carefully that the ticket was for TCV, not for Bittar, and the ticket agent got a little sick of me.

"TCV, oui."

That's the shiny, new bus I'd spotted in Segou. I so wanted to be on that shiny new bus. But today was Tuesday and the bus didn't go on Wednesday.

I'd spent tomorrow hanging around Bamako, trying to avoid politely drinking tea offered by the security guard as the power went on and off and so did the wi-fi, and go on Thursday morning then. It was time to move one. 

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