Day 53: Fluid balance

Soutpiel Safari
John & Jenny
Mon 27 Dec 2010 20:18
Day 53: Monday 27 December 2010. The Sleeping Camel, Bamako, Mali. N12 37.525 W007 59.278 Distance driven 0 km
One of the unfortunate features of getting old is the need to get up in the night. It is particularly unfortunate if you happen to be sleeping on the roof a Land Rover!
One of the guiding principles of the chemical engineer is the mass balance. Simply stated:- "what goes in must come out unless it stays there".  Here in the tropics, and especially here in dry central Africa, the the physiological fluid balance is heavily affected by perspiration or transpiration.  Result: I no longer have to get up in the night! Wonderful!  It also probably means that I am not drinking enough in spite of 3 pints of tea, 2 litres of water, 2 cokes and 2 beers a day. That's about 5 litres and we are spending most of our time in the shade! 
We have now sorted out our Mali programme.  We'll stay here in Bamako tomorrow, leave on the 29th for Djenne and spend a couple of days in the Djenne and Segou area before moving on to Mopti.  On the 2nd we will meet up with the guys who run the Sleeping Camel, in Bandiagara, to go on a 3 day walking tour of the Dogon country.  After that, on the 5th, we'll drive in company with them to Timboctou for a couple of days, so we will probably not be crossing into Burkina Faso until January 9th. This will put us about 5 days behind schedule but we should be able to make that up by the time we leave Nigeria.  There is so much to see in Mali that we place a higher priority on time spent here rather than, say, Nigeria.
We have decided to apply for our Ghanian visas in Burkina Faso, rather than here, as it seems to be easier and cheaper. In Accra, Ghana we'll get our Nigerian visas.  Both the visas for Benin and Togo are issued at the border but we are going to see if we can obtain visas for Gabon and DRC in Lome, Togo in order to cut down the time we spend in Abuja, Nigeria. One is constantly having to seek information from other travellers as to their experiences in getting visas and plan well ahead. Only another 7 visas to obtain! Unfortunately, these visa applications inevitably take us into capital cities which, in general, is not where we want to be. Big cities bring traffic congestion, pollution, traffic police, parking and security problems as well as higher prices.