Friday, October 05, 2007

Into Africa - 20th August 2007

I'd never been to Africa before. I didn't know what to expect. After a long, delayed flight with two stops and quite a bit of daytime wine, I was knackered and dozing as we landed on the dark, rainy runway. The airport was bustling and confusing, with men jostling to ask if they could take my bags. But the first things that struck me were that it was warm (I feel the cold badly, and hadn't experienced properly warm rain before), and the air smelled wonderful, of woodsmoke, charcoal and soap.

Luckily, my dad knows the place. He knew which guys were genuine luggage handlers, and our bags disappeared to be taken separately to the hovercraft. I was wide awake by now, and sucked up the atmosphere and sights, as we bumped along in a bus, with stalls and people and palm trees lit up by strings of lights and the bus headlights. A few potholes and a sand dune later, and we were dropped at the beach, to await the hovercraft. It had stopped raining, and there was a brightly painted, scruffy beach bar, which sold cold beer. The beer was served, as is the custom, with a tissue wrapped around it. It was my first taste of the local beer, Star, which would become my main fluid intake over the next few weeks. I felt very lucky and alive, as I gulped my beer, whilst watching the hovercraft's lights get closer to the beach, drinking in the palm trees, people and the bar, and enjoying the warm breeze.

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