From Uganda to Zambia…the long way round

Traveling in the night can be just as informative as during the day. The problem for me though is that on average I am not very awake and find it even a bit disorientating. This time I left at 2 o’clock in the morning from my hotel to the airport. The driver of my transfer was fortunately talkative, the problem was that he wanted sensible answers or agreement to his comments. For example to the fact that there were men coming back from bars where they had drunken all their money away after gaining some by gambling. These men were now dangerously roaming in the middle of the dirt road and he really had to pay attention to not hit them. Or the dogs that he was avoiding, as they lie in the middle of the night on the comfortable warm road. Another more interesting point was the police he pointed out and then next the truck that the police was most likely going to bribe for money. I did agree that it wasn’t right and that the police should be chasing real thieves instead of hard working people. We then had a brief discussion on gasoline prices, as I saw about every kilometer a gasoline station. It is not because gasoline is such a good business, but getting a license to open up a station is. Ugandan that live close to Rwanda however pick up their gas on the other side of the border as its approximately half the price.

Upon entering the airport I still hadn’t woken up properly and felt I was walking into an estranging dream. It was extremely quiet, except for the security and check-in staff. The customs lady gave me a tough look when I made a mistake in the filling out of the departure form and took extra time to look at my passport. If she wanted to set an example for other passengers to do it properly she certainly made no sense – as I was the only one in line. The duty free shops were also open, with no customers, and the gate I was boarding at only counted 6 passengers – including me. Hence we had to walk to the plane about 500 meters, instead of using the bus that was there as well. There, I did find people on the plane, but most of them asleep as we were picked up on a stop over.

I tried to sleep, but that wasn’t really the idea of the stewardesses as they started serving breakfast at 4.30 hours, and after giving instructions on the emergency exit, as I was seated next to it. I’m happy nothing happened as I’m sure I couldn’t really remember what she said in my half sleep state. We landed at six in the morning in Addis Ababa, seeing the sun set over the mountains and the city. My next flight was leaving 2,5 hours later for the last leg of my journey. I fortunately was able to sleep, but only when I got onto the plane I realised why I hadn’t been able to make sense of the timing of my flight schedule. I thought I was just confused on the time zones and blamed it on my sleepiness. However, it turned out that I had a stop over in Harare airport, Zimbabwe, before getting to my final destination: Lusaka, Zambia. So I basically flew 2 hours north to Addis, then 4,5 south to Harare and then 1 hour north to Lusaka again. Good thing I wasn’t really awake as I otherwise might have found it a nightmare of a journey.

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