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Saturday, November 12, 2005

From Accra to Italy With...Delay and Trepidation

Suffice to say, I am now in Tunis, at this place called Hotel Oscar. The street name? "Rue de Marseillaise". For a country that is situated right between Algeria and Libya who have dubious histories of French involvement (remember how Nobel Peace prize winner Albert Camus refused the prize for his classic 'L'Etranger', which blazed the trail for existentialist thought, because of his perception of French imperialism. That was one of the reasons anyway).

So how does delay and trepidation come into the story? Very easily.

I wonder why people still fly with Alitalia. Last time I took it--in 2000--to come to Accra from Brussels, we weren't particularly impressed. There was, then also, a delay, and the serving of the food was late. This time, the food was on time, good, and very enjoyable, but the equipment looked like it needed to have "relic" parenthesised to it--and hey, if that word doesn't exist, I am coining it right now:=)

Seriously, we were supposed to take off at 23h45. Instead, it was around 30 minutes later that we took off, when most of the passengers were dosing in the airport lounge. There was an apology over the tannoy, but being warned about the weather in Italy--misty and cold as it was--did little to assuage fears that we would get there on time.

Thankfully, we did. Most were asleep within 15 minutes of the plane taking off, but had to be awoken to be brought food.

The trepidation, thankfully, was allayed. The delay too--as we miraculously arrived on time in Malpensa, Milan. The treatment of those of us of a darker shade, even with our visas already processed, was nothing to laugh about. Being bungled in a room with around seven others, excluding my work colleague, tantamount to a cell and asked to have passports kept for about twenty minutes when it was clear that the Embassy had issued a transit visa for all of us, was humiliating. But that's another story that deserves discussion on Trials and Tribulations of a Freshly-Arrived Denizen

BTW, went to the Exhibition parc today -- Kram it's called. Tunis is many parts of Europe, especially Paris, in a time warp!!


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