Today, was supposed to be a rest day but typically there is always something to do when on the road especially when following such a strict time schedule. This morning after changing more Euro’s to CFA, I ordered a taxi to take me to the Nigerian Consulate so I could submit my visa application for the second time, as the first was rejected back in the uk. As there are only five tourists in Mali at this current time, I was the only applicant in the queue making it quite a contrast to the chaotic scenes at the Mauritanian Embassy back in Rabat. I submitted my application which involved an interview of just three questions and a can of coke with the TV blaring in the back ground. I had to pay a further 133,000 CFA (approx. 200 Euros) and submit the following documents: photocopy of main page of passport, photocopy of front (both side of Carnet de Passage), photocopy of CDP Mali entry stamp, photocopy of Mali visa and photocopy of V5C (vehicle reg document). I was the told to come back tomorrow as his Excellency wasn’t in today due to a weekend celebration. I kindly explained I need the visa today to which they very kind fully replied “ok, no problem, here is my mobile number. Call me at 1400 and I will tell you when it shall be ready”. I called at 1400 and picked the visa up at 1500.
Entering the Consulate, I noticed the security guard playing with his new toy; a handheld metal detector which sounded an alarm when he waved across my body. I offered to empty my pockets but the security guard insisted I empty one item at a time. When he finally detected my camping knife attached to my belt, he asked what it was, I replied “my knife, shall I remove it?” to which he replied “there’s no need, you can enter”!!?? Which made me wonder the point in the exercise?
We spent the majority of today trying to locate the Sleeping Camel. It cost us two taxi journeys through the bustling city of Bamako only to find it very close to our Bed and Breakfast and was actually stood outside it when we hailed the first taxi. The Sleeping Camel was just how we imagined, a heaven for travellers including wi fi, camping and a whole load of good advice being given by the owner. A must place to stop if travelling through Mali. Dai will be relocating there tomorrow morning after we say are good byes.
When we returned to the small boutique Hotel Famille, the Ambassadar Madame was sitting in the patio area with her friend and both seemed rather giddy, probably due to the empty bottle of gin sitting on the table. When we first checked in, Dai seemed concerned at the way she was eyeing him up with a cheeky smile. The ladies invited us to sit down and join them for dinner, which we thought we should so not to be rude. During dinner the Ambassador Lady changed her stare towards me and surprisingly suggested I marry her. Dai and I embarrassingly laughed and quickly thought of the best way to escape the situation. I explained I already have a lovely wife of whom I am very proud of, the lady replied “yes, no problem, two wives is fine, one here in Mali and you’re other in England”.
I diverted the conversation towards the other lady and asked where she lived, she replied ”Titiboobboob”, or at least it sounded like that. Considering the size of them, Dai and I childishly fell off our chairs with uncontrollable laughter. At this point we thought best to make our escape and returned to the Sleeping Camel to spend the evening in the bar where we discussed our various routes with the other travellers.
I can confirm, our doors will be double locked this evening and an early morning start to avoid any embarrassing situations once the ladies recover from their hangovers.