As I’m posting this at the start of 2013 these are all memories of experiences at different African airports over the past few years.
Arrived and was the first off the plane and first in the queue for immigration. Great! Then the immigration office came out and moved all the African people in front of me 🙂 Stood for 4 hours waiting for my ‘new’ turn! Don’t you just love being in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Lubumbashi, Democratic Republic of Congo
On my way out! Just paid $50 to be expedited – sounds painful. A man leads the two of us (I’m here with Danny Whitehead) from desk to desk. They relieve us of our luggage (as well as the $50 each) and make it seem as there’s actually a purpose to all of this. Out on the tarmac, all the bags lined up. We have to pick out our bags before they are loaded in the cargo hold. Only one problem, my bag isn’t there. “What colour is it?” a man asks. “Black” I reply. So he then starts looking at all the red bags! I wander over to the plane and there’s my bag already in the cargo hold. Don’t you love airport security!
Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso
Problems going in here! My visa is a stamp with the information handwritten into it. It’s a six month visa starting on 1/10/10 and ending 1/4/01. Interesting! After persuading the airlines to let me on at Heathrow and in Paris I now have to explain to the immigration officer why a person at their embassy isn’t very good with dates. First of all they want me to pay for a new visa; then they tell me they’ll let me in but I’ll need to get a new visa when I’m in the country; and finally they say they’ll let me in but the won’t let me out! We’ll see about that 🙂
More security fun! This time as I’m leaving they ask to scan my bag as the flight is heading to Paris. I put my bag on the belt and watch it disappear into the scanner. I then walk around to the other side and can see the man watching the x-ray screen – it’s blank! As my bag comes out I say to him “There wasn’t anything on the screen.” “No,” he says “it’s been broken for two years.” “Then why do you put the bags through the scanner?” I ask. “Because that’s the regulations for flights to Europe.” he answers!!!