Flying in E. Africa
Posted by Cris on March 9, 2007
We had a wonderful day at the beach, and are both sunburned to prove it. Its great to be back in Addis, the cooler weather is nice. Its good to be able to live without an air conditioner. Its funny to think weve been here 3 weeks now and we come back thinking, “Ahhh- its good to be home.”
Flying this week was hilarious. We took Djibouti Airlines, which I believe only owns one. And, unless its a crazy coincidence, they only employ one flight crew: three eastern europeans, all a bit surly and unwilling to bend to our needs. The passengers were kinda seen as one big inconvienience. So there is the flight manager/who knows what he does, who wears coveralls unzipped 1/2 way down his chest, the obligatory gold cricufix proudly displayed. His blond hair is slicked back, and he doesnt take his policeman style shades off the whole flight as he sits alone in the first class section (either nobody was willing to pay for them or they dont sell first class tix) and does paperwork, looking smug.
Then there are 2 flight attendants, who speak a bit of English, no French and no Amharic (this on a flight between Ethiopia, which speaks English and Amharic, and Djibouti, which speaks French). They dont so much ask you to put your trays down for the “meal” service as tell you, and if youre too slow they do it for you. The meal on the way there was a cheese sandwich, bread with a piece of cheese in between. The flight was 90% full of Ethiopian Othodox people, who are all fasting (no meat or dairy) until Easter. So they ate bread and threw the cheese away. The snack coming back was a tuna sandwich. The drink service was good: they had “cola, fanta, or min-eral water” which was repeated in a singsong voice, over and over. Amy made the mistake of asking for Sprite, and the woman replied, ” COLA, FANTA, or MINERAL WATER” louder, more firmly, and with a hard stare. We settled for cola. On the flight there they ran out of all but fanta by the time they got to the back of the 1/2 full plane, though they still offered people all three. They probably wouldnt have run out if they got a bigger igloo cooler, which is what the drinks were stored in in the back of the plane.
I got taken into a small room today going through security. I thought I was going to be strip searched, because my bracelet kept making the metal detector go off. I showed the man what it was, but he just wouldnt believe that I didnt have something else in my pockets. He just patted me down though. Then they called me over to the xray machine, where they were holding my bag, saying I had a screwdriver in it. I looked at the xray picture and it was clearly not my bag, as mine was a different shape, had no wheels, and no shoes inside. I told them this, and they let me go. I watched to see what they would do when they found the culprit who did have the screwdriver, but they must have forgotten in the 2 seconds it took for the next bag to come out, because the bag’s owner collected it with no problem, not even a glance. “We only do this for your security,” said the security guy as he patted me down. Yeah, right.