Sunday, June 21, 2009

5 Countries in 18 Hours...

When I set out at 8AM to leave Lilongwe, Malawi to come back to Kigali, Rwanda, I did not know what I was getting up to. If there were a direct flight, it would have been a two-hour comfortable air travel from Lilongwe to Kigali. But, there is not. So, it ended up to be an 18-hour travel visiting 5 countries on the way. How?

The first leg was for one and half hour from Lilongwe to Lusaka, Zambia. A little detour, but that is how Kenya Airways operates. It was okay. From there, to Nairobi, Kenya. Another two hours. Still manageable.

At Nairobi, I had to check the departure time for my next flight. I could not find my flight KQ478. Uh uhhh... Transfer service desk. Already a long line with probably 30 people. The service speed is slow. Patience is the virtue. After waiting in line for an hour, I learned that the flight has been cancelled and I will be on the flight that departs Nairobi at 11:40PM to Bujumbura, Burundi and then to Kigali, Rwanda. It is only 3:00PM and I have to wait for almost 9 hours, but I am glad that there is a flight to be on.

The time at Nairobi was productive. I was able to catch up with the blog updates (I posted three of them!) and with the reading.

The departure time is 11:30PM and now 11:20PM. But there is no plane at the gate. The airplane has not arrived yet. Another waiting. Finally, we got on the airplane. I could see many people with great fatigue, dozing off. I am not an exception. I was not sure if I was inside my body or outside my body. The plane took off. At mid-night, they still serve food. No thanks. Please leave me alone.

Now Bujumbura. We wait on the plane. The cleaning crews came aboard to do their job. And the passengers who are going to Nairobi, Kenya, most likely to be on another plane. Already tired and irritated, they do not have as much patience. Several people argue that they have duplicate seat numbers. The cabin crew re-direct them to be seated at different seats. Most comply with no argument. No energy left. It takes off. From Bujumbura, it was a quick trip of 25 minutes.

Finally, we landed at Kigali International Airport. 2:00AM. We still have to go through the immigration and customs. The officials also looked tired. No problem. Through spot inspections on the way, I still managed to arrive home at 2:30AM. Hooray!

So, the trip that could have been a two-hour travel tured into an 18-hour journey visiting 5 counties on the way: Malawi, Zambia, Kenya, Burundi and Rwanda. What a journey!

After all, TIA. This is Africa. - Jeffrey

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