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Harare to Costa Rica, and everything in between
May 08, 2013
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Harare International Airport
I was given
a jolt at the check-in around 1500hrs when some dude said "nah
mate we cannot let you through you gotta have a visa." A flurry
of emails between the WPFD organisers, and I'm back by the Internet
cafe and the guy comes to me and says, "We have found a way
to get around the visa thing. Since you are travelling through Germany
you won’t be leaving the airport so, abracadabra, you can
travel!"I be like, "Dude, that's what I was telling you
all the time!"
I am sitting
at the Harare International departure lounge watching some TV and
I’m like what the fuck, shouldn’t we be watching DSTV!
But then I soon realize it would be deemed treasonous showing such
content at a “strategic national treasure!” Somewhere
in the distance I can hear "last night a dj saved my life"
blasting from the radio and I be like wow, that gotta be some coincidence.
I move to another end where I order a pint of lager and I sit in
front of a screen showing BBC news.
Zambia shortly after 1900hrs but departure was delayed due to some
technical fault in the checking system, the pilot explained. Finally
left at 2040 PM for Dubai. Bloody long, 5,793km to be exact.
0723 Tuesday. Checked my phone, it was showing Zim time to be 0528am.
Enjoyed some Family Guy though, three episodes I had never watched
before. Lovely stuff. Incredible cartography being shown on the
screen mapping our flight route: I can see we are passing through
that notorious stretch that has become the favourite playground
for pirates: the Gulf of Aden, saw Addis Ababa and virtually the
whole of the Emirates, it feels so damn close yo! Though I m seeing
it on the navigation screen, it feels you are indeed seeing it from
up in the air, literally!
to leave Dubai for Frankfurt at 0820 but flight lifted at 0913,
busy airport, explained the pilot. Even this early in the AM, I
in Frankfurt. The Lusaka journey was damn long and had to rush to
connect for the Frankfurt flight. Plane circled for about 20 minutes
before landing waiting for the all clear. Was a bit shaken that
could well have missed it as the immigration folks sought to clear
the visa entry and had to go through the sheaf of printouts. Good
idea that Linda suggested we have all these printed out! It was
the same story again on entry in Frankfurt; this time cops not immigration
wondering why I was travelling through all these stops! They had
to check with a chap who must have been the "chef" if
indeed I did not require a visa to enter German space. The cop guy
actually asked me, "are you not afraid to return to Zimbabwe,"
a trick question suggesting perhaps that I was one those folks eager
to leave the country under false fears of persecution. I'm writing
this entry some forty-five minutes after landing and two young fresh-looking
cops, very much unlike our impoverished own, approach. One asks
me in feigned politeness I might add, "sir, do you speak English"
then proceeds to ask what's the dealie-yo, but then I have them
papers at the ready and voila, they are on their way wishing me
a good day! Ahhh, lovely. Still, it's gonna be a long wait for the
connecting flight as it is scheduled for 2050. I thought I could
while away the hours at some Internet hotspot but ten bucks to surf
at 2 euros for 12 minutes! I changed ten bucks and got 4 Euro 51cents
and I always thought these developed country airports oughta have
free wi-fi! Damn, these airports are just too big, you can very
easily get lost. All along I was waiting at the wrong end. Just
asked some woman and she took me right across the airport! Took
a ride in some train and you just have to imagine what would happen
if you are lost and running late. The pricing of the Internet is
crazy. Just been logged on to free 30 minute Wi-Fi on the other
side of the airport and the website hosting the hotspot says you
can pay 4.50 euros for 24 hours! I be wondering then why the fuck
did I change 10 bucks for less than 20 minutes?
Just saw a cleaning
woman and could have sworn I know her from Bulawayo's backwaters!
Ain't seen any blacks since I landed here this one makes an exception
and you do get the feeling that everywhere you go you see a black
person you feel you know them! Again, just saw another young black
chick selling eats whose variety gave me a running stomach already.
A half liter coke sells 2 euro 95, but I ain't surprised, this is
an airport where nothing comes cheap! Was given a jolt when I boarded
for Frankfurt it felt kinda weird seeing all the white faces, perhaps
confirming rather cruelly that I am indeed from Zimbabwe where whites
in Bulawayo's CBD have gone the way of the pangolin: extinct! But
I quickly recover, realising that I shouldn't be jolted this ain't
It sure is true
that when you travel across time zones you lose sense of time. It
is 2014 Frankfurt just checked in for Costa Rica but it's clear
as day as one nutty prof would say. For a moment I thought the Ipad
lost its senses but turns out it’s been updating itself across
all time zones! Costa Rica here goes nothing. Praise be to the gods.
Allahu Akbar! But not just losing sense of time, I can feel my body
has taken a battering since I haven't had proper sleep, what with
me being the guy who loves his fair share of forty winks! I have
a feeling I will pay dearly when jet lag decides to make a grand
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