Day 50: Christmas Eve progress check

Soutpiel Safari
John & Jenny
Fri 24 Dec 2010 20:33
Day 50: Friday 24 December 2010. The Sleeping Camel, Bamako, Mali. N12 37.525 W007 59.278 Distance driven 0 km
This is not a traditional Christmas!  Outside it must be at least 38 - 40 degrees and there are no signs of Christmas festivities.  We have seen Sky News and caught up with the terrible weather conditions in Europe and feel glad to be here.
Today we went to the Burkina Faso Embassy, had a chat with the Ambassador who personally welcomed us to his country and a lovely lady processed our visas in 3 hours!  Still, why not for £70 each! 
Jenny did a sterling job cleaning out the Land Rover and we got it washed by the gate guard here.  As Jenny said, it has not been so clean since leaving England. I have to do some maintenance jobs on it tomorrow and then we'll be good to go again. One annoying problem is that the diesel tank vent hose that Nene Overland fitted to the new long-range tank has split at both ends and diesel spills out if we completely fill the tank. Hopefully we shall be able to find some replacement hose locally and fix the problem so that we can use the extra capacity that we had installed.
At Day 50 it is time for a progress check.
On the basis of our plan to be in Johannesburg by 1 April and a 21 week, 147 day trip, Day 49 was one-third of the way through the trip.  We are modelling our trip on that of another couple who did the same trip a year ago.  They recorded 20,500 km to the Angola/Namibia border and we reckon it is about 3,000 km to Broederstroom from there - say 24,000 km all up. So, at one third of the time elapsed we have travelled 9,365 km or well over one third of the distance.  Plotted against our country-by-country schedule, we entered Mali one day ahead of the master schedule so are feeling quite pleased with ourselves.  We shall probably spend much more time in Mali than the master schedule allowed so we'll have to make it up by spending less in Ghana and Nigeria.
We do have internet here at the Sleeping Camel but, for some reason both our email programmes will receive but not send emails so we can't send Christmas greetings to our family and and the hundreds of friends who have sent greetings to us,  So, I'd like to take this opportunity of thanking everyone for following our blogs, sending us messages and your Christmas Greetings.  It is wonderful to hear from so many people when we are on our own in the centre of Africa!  Happy Christmas from John & Jenny