No-Mans Land Niger 12:06 AM Monday September 19, 2005
I am past the passport control, and have not left the country literally, I am in no-mans land, the place between countries.
I turned on my wireless internet access just to check the Airport here in Niamey, Niger; the world is a strange place sometimes so for kicks I checked the Wireless access in Niger. It does not have internet access; of course, I am in an Airport that feels like Mike Tyson is managing and designed for humor by Eddie Murphy. This place is a kick, I am going to have to come up with another label for the African way of doing thing, in South America they have what I call the - Manana Syndrome - however they have something similar with an African Culture twist. I suppose they have the same slow speed or slower, however the Latinos are always trying to promise or assure you, no problem, tomorrow, just wait, it is ok. The African Manana is more like let me sit look around, there is a person over there that wants to talk to me, at least I think there, I will go check. Nothing functions and there is not even a façade put up, Airport are a normal place where the countries puts all it people that can as close as possible represent the world on the same western universal Airport standard. There is really nothing more sterile than an Airport, I have a hard time remembering any Airport, nothing unique about an airport, the bigger the more gates, the more lines, the more carts, the more escalators. That is what the Niamey Airport needs an Escalator.
I cleared customs, and passport control and a man holds out his hand, well in an airport there are many checks so I start to show my boarding pass and passport. Oops, the man is holding out a bracelet, he is a street jewelry salesman that sort of lets the people queue past him.
I am happy to be in Niger, I am happy to leave Niger; there is a definite lure to the idea of driving through Africa and not taking the buses. It is interesting for Niger that all the NGOs drive cars, normally in South America or Asia driving a car by a western person is suicide, just hard to get used to the rules of Chaos driving.
The streets are very wide, the country is very safe, there is little robbery and you cannot find a police officer to pay a bribe to, it is the perfect country for an NGO. They can come here, drive them cars, live in comfort and totally avoid the people. This is an interesting aspect of Niger; it is very possible to avoid the people if you have a vehicle, to say the least, I did not because I took the buses, taxis and motorcycles.
I have a ridiculous day of Airplanes, all night to Casablanca and then a layover of about 10 hours, the fly to Cairo arriving at about midnight. If we flew directly from here to Cairo the trip would take about 4 hours, instead I have almost 24 hours, about the normal time to go all the way home. There is this comment I hear about inter-Africa flights, however I have not sussed out any type of patterns to the country. I guess there is one; you can fly down from Casablanca south, or south from France to Casablanca, then south.