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Harare to Costa Rica, and everything in between
Marko Phiri
May 08, 2013

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30 April 2013
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.

Arrived in 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.

1 May 2013

Arrived Dubai 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!

Was supposed to leave Dubai for Frankfurt at 0820 but flight lifted at 0913, busy airport, explained the pilot. Even this early in the AM, I wondered.

Just arrived 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 Africa! Kwaaaa.

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 entrance!

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