An exceedingly frustrating day – first up, the Niger embassy was closed because it’s Independence Day over there at the moment. It’s going to be closed tomorrow as well. So I went to the Benin Direction Immigration Emigration office and tried (and failed) to get hold of this mythical five-country, Francophone visa that is alluded to in the Lonely Planet. Funnily enough, there were a couple of other backpackers who were trying to get their hands on exactly the same thing.
If only it ACTUALLY EXISTED. But it seemed to the Benin authorities that we were the first people to ever ask for it. And me and these other people all just happened to get there on the same day. Hmm…
Anyway, Ahmed from Germany, Eve from The Netherlands, and I would be frustrated in our attempt to escape from Benin today. Even the American guy, Ben, was having difficulty just getting a Benin Transit Visa just so that he could leave. You see, Ben in Benin wanted to go Togo. True! Oh yes my little droogy-woogies, the West African Bureaucratic Horrorshow was in full swing.
I thought that I would get back to Rocco around 10am. In the end, I met him at 1pm. Then because of my change of plans, we had to go back to the Benin Immigration Emigration so Rocco could get sorted with a visa extension.
It wasn’t until 5pm that we jumped a Bush Taxi north. I was hoping to get as close to the Burkina Faso border as possible, but after a cop at one of the ubiquitous checkposts told the driver, it was too dangerous to drive at night and he pulled over (next to an open drain, what a wonderful smell you’ve discovered) and everyone had to sleep in the car until daybreak. Rocco did what was only natural and chucked at the side of the road.
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Hang in there, Graham, and keep the blogs and vids coming. You may be well behind schedule, but this was never gonna be easy. You’ve gotta admit though, it’s been a bit of an adventure so far, did it meet with your expectations? Keep going, before you know it you will have visited every country in the world. Not many people who can say that…
Graham! It’s good to read you made it to Burkina and Niger (although it’s really a shame you didn’t cross the guys at custom, they are actually pretty friendly). Anyway, it’s awesome to read all your stories; it makes me laugh out loud every two minutes (for which I am punished by dead-wishing glances from the people around me in the library I am at). If you need any help in East Africa (Burundi, Rwanda, Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania), let me know. I’ve got some contacts there.