I am finally on holiday!! After two long months of hard work in Oxford, I believe one week in Gabon will do me good.
I left my house in London on Monday morning at 4.45am and landed in Port-Gentil airport at 9.35pm. Veryyyy loooong journey. And I use the word journey here with the slight connotation to adventure. Seriously. Indeed, I was on three planes:
-slept through the whole of the first flight to Paris,
-enjoyed resting in Air France business class (after a one hour delay of course…), sipping champagne, stuffing y face with the delicious food while watching “Despicable me 2” as I was surrounded by business men ^^
There was a beautiful rainbow to welcome us to Libreville.
That’s when things started to get more complicated. Our flight from Paris arrived late so I had to immediately check in the next flight to Port-Gentil – after going through boarder control where they stamped the wrong date by a month on my passport before getting it right – and they decided my luggage (which I had carried with me in two planes) was too big. So I had to let them take it, with my laptop in it. I then headed to the waiting room for boarding, which was scheduled for 7.30pm. There was a storm outside, quite intense – it’s the rain season at the moment in central African countries. Of course, by 8.30 we were still all waiting in the room when we heard “Embarquement immediat” [“boarding immediately”] – and in my head I was just: “Yeah right…”
There was no organization for a queue and we were just a big pile of people raising our tickets in the air to show we were indeed allowed to board. They started taking in people. They stopped after 9 passengers. “The bus – rather a small van – can only take 9 passengers. The rest of you will have to wait and we will process 9 by 9.” We all looked around, and we were about 50. This was going to take a while… Basically, they did not want us to get wet because of the rain by walking. Great! I just wanted to get on the plane and arrive to my final destination.
The first round of 9 literally took 20 minutes… We had no idea what they were doing and tried calculating how much more time we would have to wait until every 9 people groups would have actually gotten on board. When the van came back from its everlasting ride, the stewardesses only thought then about asking us: “Would you guys mind walking?” The answer was unanimous. And we walked to the plane under the rain. What took a van 20 minutes took us about less than 4… Because that makes so much sense! But at least I was on my last plane.
The weather was really bad. Storm and lightning. Nothing reassuring when you are in such an old tiny plane which does not look very safe. I spent the whole time on the lookout, looking out the window.
The night was really dark and all I could see was the brief smokey silhouette of the clouds as the lightning showed them to me. It did not help we were in turbulent zone from take off to landing and the place was constantly shaking. A little bit before getting to Port-Gentil, the rain calmed down, and the moon decided to appear for a bit; that was a bit more comforting as it allowed us to distinguish the seafront highlighted by the city lights – but don’t get it wrong, they were no New York city lights. Just little shiny spots under us which were even too far for us to know how high or low we were compared to the ground.
I just wanted to land. Safe.
We did. Yay! What a relief!
Had to go through boarder control again before finally getting a hug from my dad who snuck in the baggage room to wait for me. I told him about my unbelievable journey as we waited for my suitcase – which, remember, contained my laptop. And of course… As if almost 18hours of travel weren’t enough, including all the delays and the complications we hear an announcement saying that everyone’s luggages stayed in Libreville and would only get to Port-Gentil on the next plane in 40 minutes (which, everyone knew, meant at least 2 hours). Oh well! My dad asked someone to take care of it and we headed to the house, hoping my suitcase would arrive safe and fine as well… And it did btw!
I got home and my beautiful dog, Yombo was there to greet me! :D He was so happy he was weeping for 15 minutes as I was stroking him on the belly. (He’s a pointer)
My dad and I had dinner together and then called my mother and siblings to let them know I had finally arrived. What a journey! I must say: I don’t understand how my father does it so often but I admire him for it…
Ever since, I’ve been staying at home (went out a couple of times to do some groceries), cooking for my dad and resting. It’s been raining a lot but the sun did show once in a while, giving me the opportunity to tan by the pool.
Unfortunately holidays do not exclude work… Collections in January! Yay!! not.
Apart from that, I have been sleeping, doing some pilates, reading, and enjoying time with my cutie pie Yombo.
Isn’t he magnificent? And he’s super friends with all the bunnies!
They are constantly running around the garden, and as you can see, the dark brown one has been very insisting on cuddling the light one… They’re rabbits after all…
The garden is really colorful, making it a nice place to chill in. I like admiring the various exotic flowers…
This place reminds me so much of my teenage years in Congo, but mostly my childhood in Cameroun. I used to pick bougainvillea exactly like this.
And place them in my hair exactly like that.
So yeah, chillin’. Far far away from lectures, tutorials and horrid winter. (Except when there’s snow, it’s never horrid when there’s snow).