When was part 1? Here. About a year ago.
What was amazing was from that point, the roads have only gotten worse, never better. Until this week.
This week I made a run up the Beach Road to Bab’s Dock and they had actually (somewhat) graded the first several miles of it where it passes south of the Airport and along the first few miles west of the city. I’ve suspected it was a possibility for a few weeks as they left piles of dirt six feet high in the middle of the road (yes the middle, you had to drive around them!), but apparently this week they actually went and kinda flattened everything out. It’s already turning to washboard, but that’s a big improvement over the feet deep potholes. Now if they can just do some work in the Haie Vive area where most of the Americans at the Embassy live. That’s still an unmitigated disaster, and worse in rainy season, when the holes fill up and you can’t tell what you’re driving into.
This week I received my checklist for processing out of Cotonou. It’s a good thing they get it to you early, because it’s two columns of small print. I had actually started parts of it (a lot of it is common sense), but there are many things left to do. I did do my TB test this week, which wraps up my medical out-brief. I also contacted the badging office in Washington. You see, in a flash of brilliance (or more likely, coincidence) my badge expires the day I arrive back in the U.S.! So if I show up for class the following week, I can’t get in! The State Department is in the process of going to a standard badge worldwide, and once that’s done I could renew my badge here — but Cotonou hasn’t swapped over yet. So, I’ve made an appointment for the Friday morning after I get home to run into Main State and get my badge renewed. I just need to remember to get the paperwork done before I go home, because it will be easier to get the signatures here than once I’m back.
I think I’ve blogged about my…discussions…with the State Department over where I will stay while I’m back in the U.S. before heading up to Ottawa. I’ve conceded…kinda. I’ll let them get me a one bedroom apartment to stay in, and I won’t stay in it much (parties, late nights when I don’t feel like heading back out to Ashburn…). But, what that means, is that I’ll need to find some furniture to live with in my house while I do stay there, since they won’t deliver mine from storage. It’s strange. Furniture rental is expensive. In fact, I’m finding it will be less expensive to furnish the house with a combination of IKEA and garage sale furniture than to rent furniture for five months. And that doesn’t even take into account I can sell it when I’m done with it, partially recouping the cost.
Only 1 2/3 columns of checklist left!