Saturday, May 14, 2011

Gabon!!!

I'm about to go to Gabon for a month. Jake is an ichthyologist and is going for a conference on fostering international collaboration in Central African biodiversity research, and to do some collecting in the Bateke region, and since the most exotic place I've gone since I was 12 is Banff, I'm going too.

When it's a little less fresh and a little more of a funny story, I will relate the six week visa saga. Let's just say that it's not so much of a mystery why some of these otherwise stable and potential-ful countries can't quite get things together. The reason they're having trouble attracting tourists isn't just the lack of modern hotels, it's the fact that they require an inordinate amount of documentation and fees to get a tourist visa, which you can't get at the border or in the airport, and even then regularly deny them on a whim. Firing the consulate at the D.C. Embassy is probably the number one best thing they could do for their tourist industry. I have never in my life had to deal with such a witch of a woman.

(Luckily, her incompetence stretches so far as to be uninformed, or more likely just spitefully deceptive, about the other possibilities for obtaining a visa. ONLY deal with the New York consular general...)

Anyway. See you in a month! Hopefully with some photographs of low-land gorillas or elephants. Unfortunately we won't be in the part of the country with the pygmies...

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