Saturday, 30 March 2013

In Africa

I made it. It was a bit touch and go at times, but I made it.

The first flight didn't leave until 11.50 so we all had a somewhat leisurely breakfast, although Angus started getting very clingy and wanted to "buy and ticket and come on the seat next to me."  Isla just wanted to go to Grandma and Grandpa's and then go and see Granny's new puppy. She did manage a goodbye, though.

My major concern about the journey out here was how I would cope with the connection at Dakar to Banjul. Buying the ticket had been very difficult as it had to be paid for and collected from a Senegal Airlines office. Okay, except that they only have offices in places other than the UK!

Karen came to the rescue and sorted out the payment and I allegedly only had to get to a Senegal Airlines office once in Dakar, show them my passport and collect a boarding pass to be allowed on to the plane.

Easy. Hhhmm.

Ken, Angus and Isla and I had prayed that morning that I would be kept safe and the journey would be easy. It was. When I arrived at my seat on the Paris Dakar flight I was asked by a polite English gentleman if I wouldn't mind swapping with his wife who was seated on the opposite side of the plane. Of course. My new companion was a Senegalese lady who had studied English literature and then a Masters in Irish Poetry whilst living in Paris! When we discussed my travel plans she duly offered to escort me through the airport, take me to the office, helped collect my ticket and made sure I got to the checking in gate. Wonderful. I would not have liked to try it on my own as chaos does not quite describe the place, even at midnight.

Karen and Stush met me at the airport and although I had been warned by the Senegalese lady that it would be cold, I had left Newcastle in the snow. Africa was warm, very warm. And dusty. And a bit muddled. It has that strange sound quality that you only seem to get in hot countries where the sound is muffled and punctuated with bird song and the periodic call of the Mosque.

And now we are going out before it becomes so hot that we may burn. It may be my only chance this year!

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