July 18, 2008

Departure from Ethiopia

I may make it sounds like all work and no play, but the truth is that we work very hard and have taken a daily flight everyday of the trip so far. I am pretty tired and have no time to myself to really decompress and put my feet up. It feels like my every waking hour is used working, travelling, eating and sleeping.

That day, we encounter a violent hailstorm that threatens to leave the windshield of our car pock-marked. As we gear up to leave Addis on an overnight flight, we notice that our ticket says "SBY". It also seems like a crowd of Nigerians, a Zambian football team, and a number of other passengers are also on standby, and the Nigerian passengers quickly start crowding the counter and complaining loudly. I plant myself in front of the counter, in the mob of angry Africans, adopting my preferred position (as practiced many times in Congo) and trying to stare the attendant into submission. My technique doesn't seem to work, and soon enough, the Nigerians are shoving one of the attendants, preventing him from accessing his computer, demanding boarding passes, answers or any kind of reaction from the stone-faced attendants. Tempers rise and I pray I don't get caught in a cloud of flying fists. It turns out we all get seated on the plane anyhow.

But there is another hour of delay as a mechanic replaces some mystery part inside the airplane. This gets the Nigerian passengers all rilled up again, and they challenge a poor steward to guarantee their safety while on the flight. One passenger even demands to get off the plane this very minute. We finally take off and encounter terrible turbulance (I admit I actually cried, a bit traumatized from flying after Congo). I can finally snooze for 30 mins after we land in Lagos, and shake the scary, angry passengers.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Oh no, I'm sorry you had such a miserable flight!
Be careful,