Sunday, December 28, 2008

Back to travelling ...

A mad flight over, 3 of us hooked up from Toulouse, the Ivoirienne married to a Frenchman and a Burkinabe born in CI whos a musician in Toulouse.

The Ivorienne + I managed to get out to the free Royal Air Maroc hotel, the Burkinabe couldnt come with us; one rule for one African and another rule for others and its always the Burkinabes that get shafted, no matter how much I begged for him.

We later joined the others later on back at the airport as we were joined by a group of 3 off to Ouagadougou who caused a lot of noise in the cafe area in Casablanca and had had a fair few beers! Two French guys who had never flown before and were shocked how modern Casa airport was; took them 2hrs to get out of immigration and 3hrs to get back in - a story that caused a lot of hilarity!

Anyway; arriving in Abidjan only just over an hour late, I was 2nd to get off the plane but my pickup missed me in the immigration hall. I had an argument with Mr Immigration who wasnt happy about me doing my landing card on his desk; reminded him that CI needs a few happy immigration guys and a 'bienvenue' wouldnt go amiss. Just about to clear customs and a soldier comes running up to me with a piece of paper with my name misspelt!

"Is this you????"

My pickup, a mechanic; had managed to get airside for me but as he missed me he was getting a little worried he'd lose me altogether! I was ushered out by 5 soldiers pushing my trolley through a hole in the wall at the side of the airport (turned out he'd managed to get me into the Presidential parking area!) ... alarm bells were ringing and I asked the poor guy 6million questions about who he is etc ... told me the soldiers were his friends -

We drove up to the barrage and he left me in the car for about 45mins while he negotiated with the military to get us through at 3.45am, I sat in the car trying to be inconspicuous listening to the waves on the shore just the other side of this shanty area known as La Corridor and we parted with 5,000CFA to get us through!
So all was well; no coup d'etat happening we talked at length about it driving back ... all seemed quiet! At 4.30am he drove me around town for half hour or so + bought me 5 baguettes, quite WHY I needed so much bread Im not sure! However that's typical Ivorian hospitality for you ..

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