It seems somewhat counter-intuitive to fly for three hours in the wrong direction, then wait for six hours before finally getting a flight in the right direction. But I don’t mind so much. For one thing, I’ve managed to get out of Luanda: armed with my backup passport, photocopies of my old passport and visa, and an agency guy to do all the smooth talking, I was able to slide gracefully through customs and escape with a mere $300 fine – which Halliburton pay anyway. Quick, painless, no bribes or anal rape in dark rooms required. I then flew for three hours to Johannesburg, where I am now, waiting and poised to have some more beers to smooth the passage of waiting.
The airport in Johannesburg is pretty nice too. Luanda’s international airport doesn’t really tingle the pleasure senses, unless you’re a fan of os interios drab, but Johannesburg has a really quite pleasant departure lounge area, with shops, space, bright lights, clear signage, and bars – though it could do with a few more. It’s laid out well, and doesn’t feel like an endurance test like most African airports, or the godawful Charles de Gaul.
I’ll be on a flight in a few hours, and by tomorrow morning touching down in the lovely city of Aberdeen. I say that only semi-facetiously. After the sweaty, intense, unremittingly unattractive megaslum that is Luanda, being back in a cool, calm and architecturally good-looking city will be a pleasure. Being allowed to go out at dark and not fear for my life or laptop will be a relief. Insane and idiotic traffic turning a fifteen minute drive into a two hour ordeal makes Aberdeen's rush hour seem like a petty complaint. Not having bored guards hovering listlessly outside every residence (in the “good” part of the city, at least) won’t be missed. Aberdeen may have a touch of the dour, and have its fair share of whingers, but I hope not to be one of these: I like Aberdeen, and its qualities shine when compared to some of the depressing pits of this Earth.
So, two more flights and 17 more hours. And many more beers, I expect.