Home -> Africa -> Gambia -> Travelogue Gambia -> 18 January 2005
Tuesday 18 January, an adventurous and long way home
The last morning, the last breakfast in The Gambia; we speak to some fellow passengers and greet our neighboors, not knowing that one of them will play an important role today. She is somewhere in the background on this photo (with white hair) and until now we have the impression she is a very quiet lady.We have to shake lots of hands, since everybody seems to know that we will leave, and if we must believe the Gambians, this is a very sad day for them. We regret that this is already the end of our holiday, but with our commonsense we don't feel it as dramatically as they put it. We have packed our bags and bring them to the reception; then we walk to the beach to spent our last hours at a pavilion.
We are welcomed by Moses who has missed his tip yesterday, since we couldn't find him when we left the beach. He sits with us for some time but leaves us alone when Berend and Agnes join us. They will leave on saturday, so they can enjoy the climate and the country a few days longer. Today, the temperature is again around 30 degrees Centigrade, but no sun. Around one o'clock we return to the hotel and Moses walks with us, but not even asks for a tip. But he looks like he can burst any moment into tears. We think it is good acting and promise him he will meet much more and nicer tourists than we, the coming days.
And then the bus arrives which will take us to the airport. After checking in we walk outside to the new restaurant and finally the sun breaks through the clouds, and shines brighter than we have seen over the last ten days. The aeroplane has a delay of one hour, so we sit here very pleasantly.
We leave at half past 4, an hour later than planned, from the modern airport Yundum. The holiday is over, the time has flown by. Six more hours of flying and we will be back in Holland...Well, that is what we think... at some time it starts to get very noisy in the back of the aeroplane and there is buzzing all around us; people talk about some lady who has gone mad but nobody knows exactly what is happening. The stewards and stewardesses are getting very restless and often they walk to the back of the plane; then we hear screaming from behind, somebody is getting very angry and there seems to be a fight but it is so far to the back that nobody can see it. Then, after 3 hours we suddenly smell the odour of burning tobacco. A steward runs to the back with handcuffs in his hand, and we can hear another fight starts. Then the plane starts to descend and what we already fear, becomes true: we are going to make a stopover to hand over this passenger to the authorities. Around us we hear several people say: 'let them just open a window...'
We land at Sevilla, Spain around 10 o'clock, and the Guardia Civil comes racing to the aeroplane with a dozen cars as if they want to storm it. Even they have trouble getting this recalcitrant person off the aeroplane. Through the window we can see it is indeed our neighbour from the hotel and we try yo make some photographs. Here she stands, just before the jeep, ready to throw up.But there are no people who pity her, in fact, we are all quite angry that we have such a delay, all because of one person. The aeroplane is full, so almost 180 people will now arrive in the middle of the night, miss their trains, etcetera. We get permission to use our mobile phones, so everybody starts phoning home. It takes another hour before we can leave Sevilla behind.
Three hours later than planned, we finally arrive at Schiphol, but we can't leave the aeroplane immediately since nobody can find the key of the airlock and it takes another 30 minutes until the key has been found. At 2 in the morning we check out of the airport with our luggage and everybody still seems very angry with this lady. She seemed to be very normal and nice, when she was our neighbour, but we changed our opinion. We have a drink with Jan and Hetty, who were also at the same hotel and they give us a tip for a hotel in the neighbourhood, after we find out that the Sheraton at the airport charges at least € 240 for a room.
Zwanenburg hotel, that is where we go, but the taxi driver has no idea where it is. But eventually we find it and we have to pay € 43,20 for the 20-minute drive. We are so tired that we don't feel like arguing with them (yes, two of them, firm men) and we get an empty ticket. Totally worn-out, we enter the hotel, check in and go to our room to relax and enjoy a last quieting cigaret. Anf then we see the smoke detectors everywhere, on the ceiling and on the walls and the door to the outside has been closed already! After 11 hours of not smoking only a smoker can imagine how we feel at that moment, not very happy, we can assure you. We go to bed, sleep very shortly and restlessly and a few hours later we are at Schiphol again, having breakfast. Wednesday at 3 in the afternoon we finally come home, totally exhausted!
Travelling is great, but not only fun; often it means that you have to wait endlessly, be dependent on other people, the weather, aeroplanes, taxi drivers, etcetera. But yet travelling is fantastic! It is an adventure and you enjoy it the most when you have no expectations, since there is always the chance something unexpected will happen, and sometimes travelling is just suffering...
We were tired when we started on this trip, hoped to get some rest, which we did, but we are even more tired when we enter our house again. We are glad we have seen The Gambia and gained new experiences and that is what travelling is all about, isn't it!?