Thursday, 30 June 2011

Good Trap


First they told us the flight was cancelled and that we had to write down our names and phone number so they'd call us for the tomorrow flight. By the time we all did, information came that there was a possibility of flying after all. We were requested to check in our luggage. Someone started spitting foul words at the ground crew. The plane had technical issues, would he rather we board on a faulty plane? Some people are sure in a hurry to get to lalaland.
Eight hours later, we're finally boarding. Am asked what my final destination is. Luanda. They check my passport once, twice then ask me to kindly sit and wait for someone to attend to me. Hey, what is 10 minutes after eight hours! I smile and sit.
"What's your final destination madam?"
I explain that am on a very long trip going to Dubai, Nairobi then back to Dubain and off to Luanda. Back to Dubai again and then Accra and then Abidjan.
The officer flips through my passport again and again and then says "but you have no visa for Rwanda." "Rwanda? Oh, not Rwanda, Luanda. The capital of Angola" and we laugh.
Dubai airport makes my head reel. Too many people. 
Nairobi is such a beautiful city but with a vicious traffic. On a "No U Turn" sign someone had tagged in green "so what?". My colleagues and I started laughing. The police man directing traffic must have thought we were laughing at him.
My first time in Luanda. The personnel at room service did not speak english and I don't speak portugeuse. We laughed at each other on the phone. I gibberished that I wanted something light to eat. She finally got it. They sent me a coca cola light.
Luanda's downtown by night (the only free time I had) is quite beautiful. The food is lovely and not too different from what we eat back home. I wish I stayed longer than 2 nights but then I'd be broke. The country is ridiculously expensive. The customs officer at airport asked me if I had money to declare. I told her no. And she said in her best english "ok, good trap!". I am not easily spooked but I felt a sense of dread.
Am now off to Accra. There's a mom with the prettiest baby girl I've ever seen on my left. She knocked down her mother's tray, pulled her hair and drooled on her shoulder. Her t-shirt says "I love mummy". A baby with a sense of humour.

Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Grounded


The last 3 years have been a blurr. Great job, not enough quality time with the Loved Ones, plenty of travelling and too many airports.
Don't get me wrong. I love to travel and discover new places and faces, try new tastes and spit some out. I tried crocodile meat. It stands somewhere between chicken and fish. I hated it. I loved sushi. Never thought I'd enjoy raw fish but guess what, penguins have great taste.
I've just spent 9 hours at Kotoka airport in Accra and will most probably miss my connecting flight to Nairobi. These things happen. Kids are wailing, parents are bribing. Two kids, brothers I think, are eyeing my smartphone. The elder one says "you have a blackberry". It's not a question. I smile and eye their snack. The little one puts his snack put into my face. It is some cheese sticks snacks. It smells good. Am very hungry and I say no thanks and smile. The kid looks sincerely relieved.
The adults are scowling and the business class adults are pouting and trying to make eye contact to communicate their anger, annoyance. I will not be contaminated. I hope the toxic smell of farts gradually filling the boarding gate doesn't stick on me though. The guy on my left reeks of the smell of stale tobacco. Worse, he just burped. 

Post written at the Katoka International Airport on 19th of June 2011.