So...I was in Blast week for work...
(BTW, I travel A LOT for work), and ended up getting stuck there due to the volcano in Iceland. Luckily, I was able to get out, and some of our party apparently is stuck there until next Thursday, due to the shortage of flight availability out of Benin in general coupled with the European airport closures, but I thought I would share my "escape story" at amand_r 's urging...
We find out there is this flight leaving on friday on "Air Mali" that makes 3 stops on the way to Dakar, Senegal. then, could take a South African airways direct to Dulles. So, we go down to Air Mali office early on Friday morning. It is this giant office with one desk and then a small booth and a lot of empty space. The desk is manned by this Beninoise dude, the booth by this Lebanese dude. We ask to purchase tickets, and are told that they don't take credit cards, so we need to get cash. So, we go and get enough cash out, which is like a semi giant stack of bills, and pay the dude. Then, the dude in the booth gives us a WORD DOCUMENT that is our ticket which says "Air Mali. Depart: Cotonou, Benin 1935, Arrivee: Dakar, Senegal 2320". I am not filled with confidence, at this point, but the tickets do actually work. Well, we take off, land about an hour later in O , take off again, land in Bamako, Mali and are told to de-plane, that we are getting on another plane. Which makes us real nervous b/c we have an hour layover in Dakar, in which time we have to grab our bags, go through customs, and re-check-in to an international flight. The holding area they keep us in is this waiting room. With a bar. Manned by this dude with a white suit jacket and little white hat. So bizarre, like something out of a David Lynch movie. So, we finally take off on a new plane, and land in Nouakchott, Mauritania, and then finally in Dakar.
There's this whole other part about me getting hassled for money while in Dakar, and yelling at this dude that he was on crack and he kept yelling back "Yes! Crack!" but I really can't post without sounding a bit like an ugly Amercian. However...suffice it to say, it was Adventureland through and through. For the record, Benin is a lovely country and I highly recommend visiting!
Current Location: my desk
Current Mood: stressed
Current Music: Faithfully -- Journey