Friday, July 20, 2007

Rwandan Diary: Into Africa

Well, it's 7.30am and we are on a two hour layover at Nairobi airport before getting a flight to Kigale. There's a group of lobby journos with us too, so Alice (Head of Production and ace camerawoman at 18 Doughty Street) and I are not alone.

Having been told just before we got on the flight that Kenyan Airways have the second worst safety record of any world airline, I have to say it was an excellent flight. I still don't know if my leg was being pulled. I spent much of the flight reading more of Alastair Campbell's diaries but despite that didn't get a wink of sleep.

The guy in front of me kept reclining his seat, which was a bit annoying. Each time he got up to go to the loo I reached round and put the seat back up, which horrified Alice. Sadly he then reclined it again after a few minutes when he got back.

Nairobi airport is like something out of a 1950s film set - lots of shouting, rather hot even at this time of day and dodgy decor. We just queued up at the transfer desk behind a man in a robe and the hairiest back you've ever seen. Alice nearly barfed her breakfast.


Anonymous said...

Baaaad flight etiquette, Iain. I'd have wrung your neck with the oxygen mask cord.

In any case, it looks like you've got some African political blogging company...plan on getting an interview?

Anonymous said...

This jaunt in the Jungle is going to backfire with Cameron becoming more of a laughing stock. The last week has revealed a massive feeling in the electorate that the Conservatives are a Joke.

Anonymous said...

Good for you Iain!!

I hate those seat reclining bastards

Paul Burgin said...

I know what it's like to have annoying people in front of you on a flight Iain, but be thankful it wasn't a very loud and rude family on a night flight across the Arctic and then the Atlantic, which is what happened to me some fourteen years ago! :(

Hughes Views said...

Other people eh? What can you do with them? They recline reclinable seats, shout in the hot early hours, wear robes, have hairy backs, vote Labour or fail to be impressed with PR in lieu of politics. Perhaps John Paul Sartre was right...

Anonymous said...

hairy back? eww!

you should count yourself lucky you didn't head off to Latin America anyway, Iain; you'd probably be flying TAM - not a good idea in my experience.

Anonymous said...

If he is entitled to recline his seat right back into your lap you are equally entitled to direct your overhead nozzle - set on full power and as cold as possible down onto the same area.

This is an effective "remedy"!

The Hitch said...

We just queued up at the transfer desk behind a man in a robe and the hairiest back you've ever seen.

Did you get his phone number?

Anonymous said...

Did I ever tell you about the time we had an unscheduled layover in Teheran? This was just after the Rvolution. We were very scared because no one could tell us what the hell we were doing in Teheran at 3 in the morning. The hall was very badly lit.

I wasn't that tired because, flying Business, so no one had reclined his seat into my lap, but guess what! They didn't even have refrigerators for the Coke! We were drinking hot Coke at 3 a.m. in Teheran Airpot under the suspicious watch of 15 year old Revolutionary Guards with machine guns. Gosh, it was bloody awful. We didn't take off until three hours later!!! No one told us anything.

Then, once, coming through San Franciso from Hong Kong, I almost missed my connecting flight! Tragedy! I ran down all those airport corridors and guess what! I literally jumped on board as they were just raising the skywalk! Well, they'd told me at check-in, "You're gonna have to run!" Running all that way with trans-Pacific jet lagj! Can you believe it?

Did I tell you about the time in Damascus that Syrian Arab Airlines took off two hours before scheduled? Fortunately, I had been warned with a knowing wink to get to the airport ultra early!

Gosh, I've got a million flight stories I could tell you, including fascinating two-hour layovers in boring airports and people who talked throughout the entire flight at the top of their lungs. But if you try to open the door and throw them out, the flight attendants grab you!

Other people's flight stories are BORING. We've all got a million of 'em.

Plse don't tell me you're going to tell us: "And then we got into a taxi and guess what! We had to stop at a traffic light! And the driver was a native Rwandan. So exotic!" If I want a travelogue I'll read Jan Morris,Colin Thubron, Gavin Young. Like that.

Most of us think this entire trip to Africa is outrageously stupid. Plse don't confirm it.

However, I am glad to say this is doing immense harm to Cameron's cause, so perhaps it's worth it.

Anonymous said...

PS - The Hitch - V good!

jailhouselawyer said...

I don't suppose there is any chance of you coming into contact with a roadside bomb or landmine is there?

Scipio said...

Iain, I was on the flight out to Kigali last week, and just over Morocco, some guy collapsed. We picked him up and he vomitted all over me. I had to wear the clothes stinking of the contents of this guy's stomach for the next 10 hours.

Give me seat recliners anyday!

PS - see you Kigali!

Anonymous said...

Oh you can't chop your Momma up in Massachusetts
And then blame all the damage on the mice,
No you can't chop your Momma up in Massachusetts
That kind of thing just isn't very nice!

"Jailhouse Lawyer" - Shut up.

Tapestry said...

hairy back?

don't these people wear clothes?

what are the women like?

this is getting more interesting.

Anonymous said...

I think you fancy Alice.

Anonymous said...

Who's Alice. And you think who fancies her?

Has Dave been round the book shops yet to see whether they are selling chocolate oranges at the tills?

Please, please, please tell me Dave is wearing a shorts and jacket safari suit with lots of pockets and buckles. Please post a picture of Dave in smart tropical gear and you will steal the entire audience for Guido's Friday competition. This will be better than the Huskies and the parka!

Anonymous said...

hey my friends, u will be able to listen on this sunday a 2 hours debat with members of the delegation in rda.

Anonymous said...

it is from 12 to 2 pm GMT

Anonymous said...

Don't you just adore texting? Especially to a literate audience?

Given that you're all on the same side - one-worlderism - what on earth is there to debate?

Anonymous said...

PS- I'm not your friend.

jailhouselawyer said...

verity: Have you got a hairy back?

Anonymous said...

Ditto "bewildered":

Dave & Co. have no idea how ridiculous they look.

Did Dave bring his pith helmet?

Anonymous said...

Welcome to bongobongo land...

Anonymous said...

Bewildered and Anonymous 6:13. Ditto. If Dave thinks the British empathise with Africans before they worry about their own domestic affairs, he is just too distanced from real life. If he doesn't realise that everyone is sick to death of Africa,that would be another error.

So many, many dire problems in Britain - the undereducated young who will never have a job or find a role in life, the proliferation of civil disorder on the streets, forty percent of babies born illegimate, no discipline in the schools because teachers increasingly fear the pupils, police cover ups for failure to maintain law and order, an utterly corrupt government, "political correctness" - better described as "thought fascism" - being used to silence the indigenous Britons whose country this is and punish them for rejecting multiculturalism, one-worlderism and open borders, and much,more more ... and Dave's poling his way up the Limpopo?

Clearly under the bizarre impression that this is going to win him points with the British electorate. He's being "inclusive". Well, that's certainly my number one priority for a politician! Don't tell me what your policies, if any, are, but are you inclusive?

Dave is a PR spiv. He talks about "man made climate change" just as that particular bandwagon is coming to a creaking, disgraced, halt. He puts a wind turbine on his roof and thinks people are going to be impressed. He berates W H Smith - a privately-owned company - for selling chocolate oranges at the checkout counter. How dare he try to interfere with the shop's decision to sell something legal? The impertinence! That trip to Norway sent an icy chill down my spine and took the breath away. Dave's stupid face grinning out of a parka bought for the occasion made him thousands of unforgiving enemies, among them - me.

The ineptitude boggles the mind. And now another PR stunt. I won't watch the video coverage of Dave being friendly and relaxed with Africans, and showing his unaffected "concern" and being oh-so-willing to listen and learn. Seeing a still photo of him is emetic enough.

What's the point, I wonder? Surely there's got to be a point. Kissing up to the left?

Anonymous said...

Had a friend who spent the night in Lagos airport once. He passed the time by watching a rat eat its way through a long line of sandwiches that had been laid out on a tray for the next day in 90% humidity and 35 degrees of heat.

Hopefully your layover will not be that long or that rat infested.

Seat back recliners! I once spent a flight with a very large drunken man and a live goat. Think he had a hairy back - the man that is.

Unknown said...

I sometimes can't believe the naievety of some people on these blogs.

Even those who believe people in front of them on an economy flight are not permitted to recline their seats. If you don't like it, fly business class.

Worse still are those that think this trip to Africa will have ANY beneficial effect.

Let me tell you about Africa, as I have travelled there - extensively.

Africa is not hundreds of years behind the West. It is THOUSANDS of years behind. It will NEVER catch up. It doesn't WANT to catch up. It is a different THINKING.

You cannot assume that black African people think the same way as white European people do. They DO NOT. Er...hasn't anyone noticed this ? Their values are different. They are NOT less intelligent. It is just a difference in thinking. Also a difference in VALUES. Hello ?????

If you would like a crash course on Africa without having to go to the stinking, depressing place, go see the brilliant movie BLOOD DIAMOND with a superb performance by Di Caprio (should have won an oscar for that).

The 'frisonne' moment of the film is where he is drunk and tells the female journalist (both lost in the jungle) how his mother was raped by 6 men and then murdered in front of him and his father, and then how they dragged his father outside and hanged him before decapitating him. 'Will god ever forgive us for what we have done to each other in this country?' he asks. And then says..' But god left this country many many years ago..'.

Idiot people like Bono and Geldof who think by sending money to Africa they are helping should be told to shut up or go live there. On the other had if you look at what Oprah has done by spending her own millions on establishing a special school for black girls in Johannesbuyg it make you want to cry.

This African trip is a complete nonsense and is totally a political stunt. If you really want to help Africa, go live there and make a difference from within. Unless you do that, in the eyes of Genghis, you will forever be a hypocrite.

Yak40 said...

Kenya Air ? A friend working in sub Saharan Africa told me of sitting in either Kenya or Ghana 'plane (I forget which)watching a rat appear from between a galley cupboard & plastic panels, chewing on something. He then saw that there were lots of wires & the like running behind the panels.

He said BA only from then on !!

Yak40 said...

P.S. verity 705pm

Well said.

Fidothedog said...

Watch out for dartkies...