Thursday, February 3, 2011

Why do 26 yr old women that will be left unnamed like pillow pals?

How to cut 3 days of travel to 1.5...

Note: I started this post in the airport last Friday. I am finishing it today (Thursday) from my office at The University of The Gambia. To find out how my travel between that time and this time went please continue to read, otherwise do not.

So I heard on Wednesday that I would be headed back to Africa on Friday (Today. Right now. I am actually sitting in DTW starting this post). My trip goes as far as Dakar, with travel to The Gambia still unplanned...

Without much notice I got my stuff together pretty fast and called a few people to let them know I was leaving. I have mixed feeling about all of this, but I know I need to go back for at least a little while. I left so suddenly and still have somewhat of a life there. I’m worried about how everything will go. Oh. Also. It is seriously depressing to move home and do absolutely nothing. I feel like a jerky/poor teenage punk kid. Not cool.

Fri 9:32 AM - Currently sitting in Detroit airport. Woke up at 630AM, got ready, finished packing and said goodbye to my Mother (told her I would not leave until she stopped crying) and bratty Sister (tried to make her cry by hitting her but failed. Ok not really but I wanted to). Dad drove me to the airport, we had some good chats and he made me coffee one last time, and now I am sitting here preparing for the next unknown number of hours of travel.

Fri 9:38 AM - BOARDING first flight... and my sister is being a jerk online. Also just found out that Peace Corps booked me a ticket to depart Dakar at 0055AM on Sunday and arrive into The Gambia at 2AM. Not sure about what airline they booked, or the 20 hour layover I will have in Dakar, or how I will get home at 2AM, but it sounds like I might have some rides waiting. We shall see.

Fri 3:40 PM - Sitting in a Chili's Too and just ordered a margarita. Yum... dinner? We will see how quickly I fall asleep on the plane to Dakar which departs at 550PM. Hellooooooo ambien. I am one classy American. I must say.

My Detroit plane took off with no issues and I made it to sunny Baltimore (that’s a lie bc it was shitty outside) on time. Ate some Potbelly's and tried to memorize as much of the meal as possible to save for later.

Have also started buying as many small items (i.e. candy) that I can fit in the extra small places in my bags. Starting to miss America already.

Also, some of you may have heard about this, BUT if not, I got bangs. They look hot. I was thinking at first that the combination of bangs and sad must look good on me because so many people are checking me out at the airport. Then I realized that I am a 26 year old carrying around a panda pillow pal and they are probably just judging me. Far less sweet. Just wait until I am in Africa introducing the pillow pal punk asses, and NOT sleeping with an African pillow! That’s all I have to say about that.

Yes I did carry this all the way back to Africa. And no, my sister Allen did not buy it for me for Christmas.

Fri 4:08 PM UPDATE on travel from Dakar to Banjul status. Have flight booked on KNOWN airline. Departing at 00:55 Sunday and arriving at 01:55 on Sunday. Hanging out in Dakar from 06:00 Saturday - 00:0 Sunday. Seems like I will be picked up in Dakar and taken to the Dakar transit house and then taken back to the airport and also picked up in Banjul and taken home. Yay! Wish me luck!

Sat 6:28 AM (1:28AM EST) Made it to the Dakar transit house…. But barely. Apparently you need to be on flights to Africa really really early. I showed up at 4:30 for a 5:50 departure and was the last person on the plane. They were literally in the process of taking my bags off the plane. Apparently I had seven minutes left to show up. Who knew?

I did however get to choose where I wanted to sit because the flight was so empty. I got three empty seats right at the front! I read some, ate dinner, passed out for the majority of the flight, woke up with about an hour left and read some more. Overall not bad at all.

Once in Dakar my ride was waiting for me with a sign and I got to the Senegalese transit house in record time. Now I am here and everyone is sleeping and it’s still dark so I might try to sleep some more. I am really gross though so a shower is also possible.

It made me really happy to get off the plane and be back in Africa. Even at 5AM it was 75, humid and smelled like the ocean. Not so terrible.

Hello Dakar Airport (I obv. did not take this as I arrived really really early in the morning)

Sat 6:40 AM Surprised at how happy I am to hear the call to prayer again :] Time to go back to bed.

Sat 11:23 AM Was a hot mess when I woke up. Now showered and clean. Should I go back to sleep?

Note: Some time after writing the last note I dropped my computer at the Dakar PC Office and the screen stopped working!!! I was not happy to say the very least. I now have to connect my computer to an external monitor to see what is going on. I was only able to do this once I got to The Gambia. Everything from this point forward is an accurate reflection of the events in question, but the times might be approximations….

Sat 3:30 PM: Went back to sleep and just woke up again. Time to walk around and look for food.

Sat 7:00 PM: F’ing A I dropped my computer as soon as I land on the only continent where Best Buy does not exist. Can’t think about this right now.

Sat 10:00 PM: Have been reading for hours in the Dakar office. Nobody is here and it is really dark and not sweet. Now waiting for PC to come pick me up and take me to Dakar Airport. I hope they did not forget me….

Sat 12:00 AM: PC got me around 10:30. Dakar airport was a nightmare. How are there so many people awake and at the airport at that time???? Not loading the plane

This is where I got to wait in the airport!! I, however, also did not take this picture. Nobody was this happy.

Sun 4:00 AM: Just arrived to The Gambia!!!! Plane was delayed an hour because the seat assignment software just stopped working and about half the plane could not get through security in time so we had to wait for them. Punks. THEN I got stopped by customs and was stopped by health inspection who wanted to see my WHO card. Bah.

Samanka (my American Toma, which means namesake), also known as Sam the driver, was waiting with a car so I didn’t have to walk home. Yay!

Sun 6:00 AM: Finally showered and going to bed. 1.5 days later I made it back :] Now all I have to do is adjust….

To bring this full circle. I have been back at work the past few days and trying to get everything here in order. Slowly Slowly. Maybe I will even have time for another picture filled post instead of all this boring text!


Alexandra Jarema said...

I did too buy you that panda pillow pal and I would like FULL credit thank you. You could never buy something that cool.

Will said...

All your readers are glad you made it back to The Gambia safe & sound and hope your life will return to normal for a while.

Jess said...

Hello there! My name is Jessica He and I'm a future PCT in The Gambia. I just stumbled on your blog and it's so fun to read! Unfortunately I'm leaving for China tomorrow so I didn't have much time to digest all of your posts but I definitely intend to after having great reads with just a couple of entries! I'm a bright eyed prepare-er and would love to ask you some questions about your PC experience if you have time. My e-mail is I'm sure that you've been keeping busy so I also wouldn't mind at all if you're too preoccupied at the moment and can't field any questions. Thanks in advance for your time!