NIGER TO FRANCE
Back at the airport and I noticed the hustlers trying the same trick as they done to me, they recognised me and gave out a cheeky smile. They are smart I’ll give them that.
HI, CAN YOU FOLLOW ME PLEASE
The airport has no facilities, none! Not even a vending machine! So the guys outside know where the flights are going to and coming from so they have all the currency and everything else you need. Because there aren’t any regular flights they knew I was heading to Algeria and had dirhams ready to be exchanged, how smart! Although mine was just a layover before France.
NEVER TAKE YOUR EYES OFF YOUR LUGGAGE
Another officer came in and ask me to sit down, and initially I though fu*k that! I’ll argue my side with anyone but when travelling there are 2 kinds of people you don’t say no to, anyone with a reliable uniform and the bartender asking if you want a double! So I took the seat.
One of them had a good look through my bag which I had spent a good hour perfecting, I was a bit tense about the drone and so far I’ve managed to keep it out of harms way! I didn’t look at him but I knew which part of the bag he was looking through and which ‘packing cube’ he was handling. He took out my electronic case, chargers etc and had a hard long look at the controller. Having a drone here is more than likely illegal and if it’s it then well I expect to hear a new law passed right before my eyes.
- Niger is one of the hottest countries on earth.
- Their official language is French.
- Unlike the Nile the River Niger is clear due to the absence of silt.
BRINGING OUT THE DRONE
This was going on while the other officer was up to something, I tried to peer over his computer screen to have a look and then thought better just sit where you are! If this fella sees the drone and flags it to the officer then they could accuse me of anything they wanted, they probably haven’t seen a drone before and would jump to all sorts of conclusions! Then I heard the zip of the drone case, sh*t! He spoke to the officer and I just tried to remain casual – fu*king impossible!!
But what happened next took me by surprise, he zipped it up threw it back in and said ok done. Relieved? A little but I still had the big dog to contend with. He ask me to sign something and I thought about my rule, I can’t really refuse no matter what it is. Why would he get me to sign something if he didn’t find anything? What if it’s an admission to guilt, then what? I just had hope he was one of the straight ones.
There really is a power thing is Africa which you do get at home but Africa is next level. I eventually got through security and the lady asked “is there a camera in your bag, can I see?” So I took it out and showed her only for another officer to shout at me that the camera was pointing towards him. The fu*king cover was on. Get me out of here!
I don’t care what anyone says, being searched even in Europe can be intimidating but when it’s in a country that has ever changing and debatable laws it puts it into a different league. That’s when they do stick with the law as ‘anything can happen from nothing.’ It also depends on the mood of the ‘officer’ something I wasn’t keen on even considering his earlier pleasantries.
MORE IMMIGRATION PROBLEMS
For sure one of the worst airports I have experienced so I was happy the flight left on time, something very unusual here and it was off to France via Algeria.
Something which is more common here in Africa are empty planes and I think there was enough free seats for everyone to have a free row to themselves! The Algerian airport was a welcome change, back to modern facilities and a temperature you could cope with but the immigration staff again proved to be less than co operative.
- Niger has the largest protected area in Africa, 7.7million hectares
- A 100million year old dinosaur was uncovered in Niger
The Algerian airport has a strange way to deal with transfers, you need to fill in an immigration card and then be cleared by immigration but you don’t actually pass through. There were two Asian guys travelling together and dealing with separate officers. The first officer is going through the card that has been filled in and has asked for the young Chinese guy’s address,
The guy doesn’t understand and can only shrug his shoulders in embarrassment
‘Address!’ The officer repeats
And when he still doesn’t get an answer the officer starts banging on the table shouting
Now looking over to his friend for possibly an answer or some help he is also getting the same bang on the desk! I don’t think they would be as demanding if it was a 6.6ft Nigerian on the other side of the plexiglass. Power trips are terrible here in Africa! I got the one of the officers, in question but having been surprised before I was shocked at how nice the officer was to me. But I would experience the opposite the next time I visit here.
I was dealt a poor hand in the flight as well. There are a few things you want to make sure you don’t get when it comes to seat selection on a flight. The back of the plane as you recline is restricted as well as extra movement in the plane and the middle seat. I ticked all of these boxes but out of pure luck once the doors were closed I had the entire row to myself, this makes a red eye flight all the easier
A day in Lyon. Click to read.
SAFE TRAVELS, DS x
This post is part of the West Africa Series, pt1, click to explore or for episode 1 click here.
To watch the video of my trip, head to my highlights on my Instagram.
- Have you ever had difficultly in an airport?
- Tell me what happened.
Let me know in the comments below . . .