I now understand why people can’t sleep on planes. They aren’t tired enough. Trust me. After spending seven hours in the Dakar airport, pacing with Pape, you’re tired enough to sleep in any seat you collapse into at 5am – plane seats included.
At 1am when they announced our flight would leave at 4:30am (inshAllah implied), we sought refuge in the $10/head Teranga Lounge. Let me paint you a picture. Orange sofas, faded since their prime in 1970, line the walls of a smokey room equipped with a partially stocked barand air conditioners that produce more sound than cool air. But tucked in the back is a clean ladies’ room. (No toilet seat, but there is handsoap.)
When we finally arrived in Lisbon, we were greeted at the information desk by a long line of Senegalese people talking animatedly with their hands and in loud, angry voices while the French huffed and grumped about the situation with shrugged shoulders and exasperated sighs.
So what did the American couple do? Wave their baby around and get bumped to the front of the line. Pape thanked his fellow stranded travelers with big, toothy grins and general shenanigans. Worked like a charm. We think he may have a future in bomb-diffusion.
The airline reps in Lisbon were much more helpful than those in Dakar. (Your flight got delayed to dawn? Here. Have a bottle of water.) within an hour we’d been taxied to and checked in to a rather nice hotel, given meal vouchers and lots of kind smiles. Most of those were directed at Pape, but whatever. Still such a nice change.
Obviously I would rather be at my parents’ house right now, especially since Cheikh seems to be coming down with something. But there are far worse places to be than a friendly European city with sun bursting through rain-heavy clouds, and Pape and Cheikh napping as I settle in for a Downton Abbey marathon. And we’ll get to my second home tomorrow, so it’s all good.
PS. We got caught in rain showers on our walk earlier. (Hunting coffee, of course.) It felt wonderful. Oddly enough, no one else seemed entranced by the water falling from the sky.