I got up early in the morning.
My host had already left for work earlier so I took it easy in the first hour.
Had a shower and packed the rest of my things as I was heading to the airport in Djibouti City to start the journey that would 48 hours later land me home again.
As I packed everything I counted my money and came to 1760 Djibouti Franc.
Usually the taxi price is about 2200 Francs to the airport as I remember seeing a price billboard when walking out of the arrival hall at the airport four days earlier.
This could go two ways really, either I manage to convince a taxi driver to take me for that sum or I would have to make a new withdraw from the ATM, something I really would like to avoid.
Planning the time, I planned 1 hour would be consumed to hassle with taxi drivers and get a ride to the airport. If it would take longer then 1 hour I just had to withdraw the money.
As well, I considered the possibility of walking to the airport but counting in factors as the +27 sun and the distance of about 8km kind of got me back to my original plan, to get a taxi for 1760 Francs.
Put on my bags, exited the house, locked the door and hid the key under the massive chain as we had agreed on the evening before.
I manage to take one step outside the residential compound when I hear a “- Bonjour Chef! Taxi?”
Looked to my side and 4 taxis were parked outside the little shack that was serving as a local drink and snack shop.
I approached them and showed them the money and said “-to the aeroport”
They looked at my money and then at me, leaning against one of the cars that was parked on the curb in the shade.
“-To the aeroport? Deux mille”. (Deux mille = Two thousand)
“-Its all I have left” I replied.
“-ok Chef” and one guy started walking towards his taxi a few meters away. This went quicker and more hassle free then I had even imagined and I felt relieved not having to start hassle for a long time in the sun.
After a long ride, I actually wonder if he didn’t drive all around the country, we arrived at the airport and an older man in a torn green uniform came out to greet me and see if I had any luggage he could carry as he was a porter.
And of course there was the regular security check at the airport, fortunately not as rigid as in Ethiopia.
I stood in line at the check in counter and as it was my turn I gave the woman my passport.
No, no ticket for me. What? I shower her my print out of the confirmation. No. No ticket for me. I was not on the list.
Something I did notice in Ethiopia and I also now saw in Djibouti is that they don’t have computers. They have printed out lists that they look at. In reality, if you are not on the list, you don’t have a ticket.
Now I finally understood why everyone had been so keen on seeing my ticket while flying around in Ethiopia. E-tickets havent really broken through as a modernity in this part of the world.
When I heard not a ticket my heart and head started accelerating and working together as there is only one flight a day from Djibouti to Ethiopia and missing my flight back to Europe was not on my priority list this day.
Even though I had a 12 hour window in Addis before embarking on the flight back to Europe, it was not a way I wanted this whole trip to go.
“-Follow this man” she said and pointed at a guy.
We walked up into what seemed to be a small Ethiopian Airlines office and as I was waiting for the guy going through the system to find my ticket, I admired the horrible server installation on the wall that looked more like a telephone connection center from the early 1920’s then a digital installation in 2011.
It took the man 5 minutes and then he had printed out my ticket. Now my question is why wasnt it on the list in the first place? Things like these worries me sometimes.
After having checked in my luggage that now after 2 weeks of travelling had gained four kilos after all the souvenirs, spices and coffee I had packed in the bag, I walked into the “lounge” and sat down waiting for the flight.
The whole flight to Addis went without any problems and I walked out in the arrival hall and this is now that I had to figure out how to do this.
For some reason Djibouti flights are counted as domestic travels and not international which they should meaning that I arrived in the domestic terminal and now had to get to the international terminal but there is no connection between them.
This means in the legal term that I would have to buy a new Ethiopian Visa for 20 USD to be able to get out and walk the 500 meters to the international airport. Not gonna happen.
The man checking the passports told me to fill in the visa card after he had gone through my passport and I just said “-No”.
He stopped up with what he was doing and just stared at me. Had I offended him as an “offical” person? Did he still have the fresh trial of the two Swedish journalists that was ongoing in Addis at the moment. Was here yet another Swede who was gonna try to get into the country “illegal”?
Whatever his thoughts were I will never find out but he did look a bit puzzled by my answer.
Explained my situation that I was gonna stay in the terminal until my flight was leaving 12 hours later to Istanbul.
fortunately another guy came with the same intention so suddenly my stand of will power not to contribute another 20 USD till this country just doubled.
We were hushed to the side and promised that they would see if they could help us.
I needed to get my bag as well but as that was behind the immigration one female official went and got it and that is when I noticed that the bag was damaged.
Asked to report the damage and they told me that I could do it in the International terminal.
We got a lift with a bus between the two terminals and were told to go up and just walk straight and we would get to the international terminal.
We started walking through the empty terminal and after a few hundred meters and a floor I saw a man sitting on a bench together with a military police guy looking out at the tarmac and talking.
When I passed behind him he raised his voice and shouted at me, without moving an inch.
“- Where are you going?”
“- I’m looking for the baggage terminal” I replied not moving either.
Once again he spoke to me without moving “-What are you doing here? Show me your ticket!”
As I hadn’t checked in yet I didn’t have a ticket either.
“- Where do you come from?” he continued and only moving his arm backwards to get my ticket and when he didn’t get any ticket in his hand he tilted his head backwards looking at me with a toothpick in his mouth.
I explained the whole story and how I was sent there from the domestic terminal.
After looking at my passport and my boarding card from the previous flight he ordered me to go upstairs waving of his hand to my demand for the baggage service.
So I went upstairs, he still hadn’t moved from his sitting position, and started looking for the baggage service. Walked around the full lap around the whole terminal without finding anything that was even close to anything related to baggage.
This was the connecting and departing area and not the baggage or the check in area. Technically I was in no mans land as I had an exit stamp from Djibouti and no entry stamp for Ethiopia. I was in no country at all. I was in Addis Ababa Airport Land.
Walked down again to confront this man again which with his nonchalant acting had managed to piss me off a little already. When I got down he was still sitting in the same position as before, not moved an inch with the same toothpick and military police by his side.
As I opened my mouth and he heard my voice I noticed that I had managed to get under his skin as well as he this time actually moved his whole head to look at this Faranji who was disturbing his laziness.
The angry expression on his face was enhanced by the wrinkles that his bald head produced in the lack of hair.
I asked him for the baggage service again and he wondered why I wanted them and I showed him the bag and said I wanted to report the damage.
He laughed at me and asked why I wanted to report something that silly. I stood my ground which made him even more irritated and ordered me to open my bag.
Opening the small pocket on my backpack he saw the top of my deodorant and he pointed at it and asked what it was.
Now I was really pissed at him and took the deodorant and gave it to him saying “- It is a deodorant. Do you know what it is?” as I smirked to him.
“-Its no good?” he asked me and looked at it. “-It works was my short reply”
“-Good, I need it better than you do” he said and put it in his pocket while looking and smiling at me.
Right there and then, I could have become the third Swedish person in a Ethiopian prison…