Airport Experiences

Monday 22 November 2010

Every visit to an airport in one of these smaller African countries is an experience.  Most of the time it is hectic, unorganized and frustrating but yesterday was relatively smooth... except for 2 small things.

Apparently, the leader of the opposition party was making his arrival in Libreville (probably from Port Gentil as I think he resides there as do many of his supporters) just after we were to depart and he invited his supporters to meet him at the airport for a march to the government offices.  Those of you who travel know that everyone tells you to stay away from any political protests as they have potential to become dangerous.  Unfortunately, we had no choice as we had a flight to catch.  I was a little nervous by all the red shirts (the colour of the opposition party) taking over the exterior of the airport.  Luckily, nothing much happened while we were there.  There was some singing, marching and cheering but by this time, the army showed up, shot guns and all and corralled people outside.  I haven't heard what happened afterwards but thank goodness it remained peaceful while we were there.

While in Pointe Noire, Joe purchased a regulator box to plug our TV into as the electricity fluctuates so much here that we worry it could damage our bigger electronics.  We were a little concerned as it was 8 kg and we didn't want to be overweight so at the last minute we moved some of Joe's things into my bag.  We checked in, left our bags and returned to the main area to look at some magazines.  As we were standing around, I hear the distinct name Joseph Thomas Reid (with a very French flare and Reid is always pronounced Red) being called over the intercom.  Of course, Joe hears none of this so I get his attention and we report to baggage.  Well I guess a regulator looks like a bomb in the scanner so we had a bit of explaining to do.  After we opened the bag for them and explained what it was, all was fine, but funny nonetheless.

In the end we made it home safely but unfortunately, I have one more trip this week to Libreville for the final step in the residence card process.  I wonder what excitement awaits me then.

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