At least, if you’re doing well in the luck department.
So here’s a little anecdote for you, since blogging has been my weak point of late. Airports. They’re not a novel concept. In fact, if you’ve traveled much you’re probably already questioning whether or not you want to continue reading this simply based on the unwelcome nature of the subject.
The thing is, airports in Africa are generally different. From broken windows in the terminals to rocks getting sucked into engines on the runway, you’ve got a pretty diverse experience as compared to what most of us would consider usual. Bribes and shakedowns aside.
Last night I was prepared to get up and take my buddy Matt to the airport at 10am for his 1PM flight. It’s an unusual time for us, because he was flying with Royal Air Moroc instead of the usual suspects to Europe. But when I got back from a late-night motorcycle ride I found out his flight had been moved to an earlier time. 7am. Not only that, but they wanted him to get there by 4am.
We’d heard all of this through his mother, who had been told by his travel agency.
This presents a number of problems. The first is that we have an 11:30PM curfew, which was about the time we were finding all of this out. This requires getting curfew release forms, waking all sorts of people up, anger, the works. The next problem is staying awake until 3am to leave. Finally we have to leave little Matt in the Lome airport by himself (presumably) for 2-3 hours. That’s when you’re hoping to be more lonely than well attended to.
We managed it all alright after a number of phone calls. I got a hold of his travel agent to verify that the flight had been moved. We stayed up until 3am, packed up a land rover, and got him to the airport in record time. It really helps your land-speed capabilities to have clear roads instead of swarms of motorcycle taxis.
We dropped him off, said goodbye, and came back. After a good night’s sleep (I didn’t work until 2PM) I got up for lunch to discover that Matt had never left. In fact, he was still waiting at the airport, 9 hours later, because his flight had gotten pushed back to its original time.
As far as we know he made it ok. I’m more concerned that he might have burned something down out of boredom (country kid and all). Just let this stand as a warning to you if you’re ever traveling in Africa: bring snacks and good reading material.