A Return to Africa!!! (After Eight Years)
First let me say that I do like traveling … but it’s just that I absolutely HATE the seemingly endless trips that take me from Point A to Point B. Once I have had some time to get some blessed sleep and adjust to my new time zone, I am generally OK. But it’s the trip over to where I need to go that’s a real drag! Take for instance this trip. Many years ago I worked a rotational assignment in northwestern Angola (28 days on- 28 days off). Now, after an absence of over eight years, I have returned. In the old days (1998 – 2001) I had to travel on Air France from Houston to Paris and then from Paris to Luanda. Including a night layover at the Sofitel Hotel at Charles deGaulle, that trip took four days! Now, however, we have the Houston Express run by a contract airline called World Airways. We board the plane in Houston (no tourists … just businesspeople and “oil field trash” types are on board the plane) and after about 14 hours, we alight in Lovely Luanda, the capital city of Angola. Then it’s a mad dash to immigration (everyone wants to be first in line!!) where I hand in my short-term visa documentation to the nice man at the Immigration desk. He takes my passport and tells me to “wait over there” until my visa is actually stamped into my passport. That little deal took 30 minutes. Then I grab my suitcase from Baggage Claim (it took almost 30 minutes for my suitacse to finally appear!) and rush over to the desk where I check in to the short flight from Luanda to Cabinda – the little enclave of Angolan territory nestled inside the Congo.
We depart Luanda and arrive about an hour later (after a stop in Soyo) and then – after yet another immigration check in Cabinda – we take a 45 minute bus ride (thankfully in an AIRCONDITIONED bus!!) into our Malongo camp. By then I am totally drained of energy. Then we get off the bus, I pick up a key to my assigned camp residence and WALK over to my “home away from home” and CRASH! I try to relax after this 25 hour door-to-door travel event. What an Ordeal …. with a capital “O”! The things I do to make a living!
I know many of you dear readers may think that international travel is “exotic” and somehow attractive but let me assure you, this is the part of international travel I absolutely HATE! I only hope I can catch up on some badly needed sleep and THEN and only then can I start to enjoy my new surroundings, meet new people (plus get reacquainted with folks I haven’t seen in almost 8 years!) and start to do the work that got me over here on this trip.
I hope I can make more postings as my stay here in Angola progresses. And most important share some pictures! I already have pictures of zillions of fruit bats hanging upside down in tress. What a sight to behold. At dusk, the sky is filled with thousands of bats!!
Oh well …. time for a nap. Yawn!!