I was still awake when the alarm went off. Spent nearly three and a half hours waiting in line at the French embassy in a small poorly ventilated, very hot, generally unpleasant room with several hundred other impatient people, but I did turn in my applications for Burkina Faso and Togo visas. My money was taken and I was told to return for my passport sharply at five. Despite my lack of sleep, the annoying bureaucracy of the French embassy, the heat, and even Dakar I was in a pretty good mood with the knowledge that I'd be heading out tomorrow.
The plan was to catch the 12:30 ferry over to the Isle de Gorée. I got out of the embassy shortly after 11 so decided to have lunch. Unfortunately the walk to the ferry terminal took a little longer than I had planned and I just missed the ferry. Now the debate was to bother or not. The next ferry was at 2:30, which meant I'd have to catch the 4:30 ferry back after only an hour and a half on the island. Plus that would put me back at the French embassy no earlier than 5:20.
I went up to check my email, and while browsing around on the web found some disturbing news. I was checking my bank balances and I realized that I'd been charged for three withdrawals from the an ATM in Dakar. Last Friday I'd tried three withdrawals from the visa ATM, but all of them came back with the message that the transaction could not be completed. Yet there the right amounts were, subtracted from my balance as if I had gotten the cash. The statement correctly showed the cash advance that I had been forced to fall back on. Anyway I spent some time composing an email to my bank explaining that there was nearly US$400 that shouldn't have been taken out of my account. Of course at this point I had decided to try for the island and this emergency meant that I got to the ferry dock less than a minute after it pulled away (they were still maneuvering away, and in a movie I could have easily jumped). My main concern is that I've often had ATMs not give me the money I've asked for (probably a third of the time, maybe more), and I've never checked before, I wonder how many times I've been charged? I'm very curious to see how the bank handles my complaint.
At this point I settled down to waste a few hour reading (another Tom Clancy novel I bought today) before going to pick up my passport. Fifteen minutes before five I was waiting at the embassy gates. An hour and a half later at 6:15 they started letting people in. After another thirty minutes in line in that uncomfortable room I had my passport and visas. I was pretty annoyed at having to wait so long after being told that if I wasn't there at five I'd have to wait until the next afternoon to get my passport, then I checked the visas. I'd asked for a month in each country. I'd been given 15 days in Burkina Faso (fine), but only two days in Togo. I was furious. On further study I read that most visas for Togo are only two days and that you have to get them extended once you're there. But it was just the icing.
It was disappointing to start the day in such a relatively upbeat way and then have almost everything go wrong. On the bright side I must have looked ready to kill because most of the annoying people left me alone, or at least excepted No as an answer... and I'm still planning on leaving Dakar tomorrow!