Despite the rather significant communication gap, the Coimbra Hotel did indeed have a driver ready and waiting (and they even have their own hotel van) to take us to the airport. Unfortunately, traffic in Bissau this afternoon was bumper to bumper and it took a good hour in heavy traffic to get there.
We arrived a bit later than we had planned, approximately 2.5 hours before our flight. We figured getting there early would be a good idea, since the airport only has three or four flights per day, and if anything went wrong it would be good to be at the head of the queue. Judging by the parking lot 2.5 hours before the flight, we didn’t have much to worry about. Finally found a security guard to let us wait inside the somewhat cooler terminal instead of in the extremely hot parking area:
In fact, the check-in hall was so empty we were actually wondering if the flight existed. Until about two hours before the flight, we were the only ones around, and over the next 30 minutes a few other passengers and cleaning staff trickled in:
No problem, however, about 90 minutes before the flight they did finally open up check-in, and it was no problem at all getting our boarding passes for Dakar. Was forced to check my rolling bag, which really wasn’t a big deal, and then was allowed to proceed through security and immigration to the waiting hall, which had a nice little bar/cafe waiting area:
Boarding was right on time about 30 minutes before the plane, and obviously there was no jetway. Our plane was ET-ANH today, and it was the same 737 that Ian and I flew from Lome-Douala-N’Djamena, Chad back in September:
Being one of the first on board was able to get a great exit row seat with no seat in front of it. Despite maybe 40 minutes of flight time, it’s always good to be comfortable!
ASKY flight 42
Bissau, Guinea-Bissau (OXB) to Dakar, Senegal (DKR)
Depart 18:15, Arrive 19:10, Flight Time: 0:55
Boeing 737-700, Registration ET-ANH, Manufactured 2007, Seat 16A
Miles Flown Year-to-Date: 3,131
Lifetime Miles Flown: 2,170,169
Only a 40 minute flight up up to Dakar, but a full beverage service was offered. You can see the missing seat in front of me here:
Overally, another solid flight with ASKY. I’ve taken about 10 flights with them now all over west Africa, and they’ve been super about being on time, friendly, and generally comfortable. Overall, aviation west Africa is so much better than it was even ten years ago. Sun was setting as we approached Dakar, and after deplaning got a nice shot of our plane at dusk:
Collected my bags, and headed off to get a taxi to my hotel. I was staying at the Radisson Blu (which I had decided on previous long work trips to Dakar was by far the best choice in town), while Jordan and Dan were staying at the Hotel Baraka (Obama). Just kidding on the Obama part. We decided after checking in to meet up for dinner, and grabbed cabs to the La Piazza Restaurant. Unfortunately, they were running a bit late due to traffic being blocked by what was apparently a corpse in the road. Eek!
La Piazza had remodeled since my last trip two years ago, and was actually nicer now. We were the only customers, but that changed by the time we left to a full house. I forgot that people in Dakar tend to eat rather late. Several of the waitstaff remembered me from a couple years back, and when I commented that they had changed my favourite dessert they said they absolutely could make it the old way. We ended up splitting a pain perdu, which is basically a caramelized french toast with ice cream…it was delicious!
Unfortunately, I couldn’t join Jordan and Dan for a day of touring the next day, since I had to go into our office to do a bunch of work. Fortunately, the Radisson is just a few blocks from my office so I was able to take a nice long two hour lunch break by the Radisson pool. The struggle is real I tell you…
Ended up doing dinner with coworkers I hadn’t seen in a couple years, so wasn’t able to join Dan and Jordan, but it was an early night anyways, as we had to be up at oh-dark-thirty for our flight on to country #188 – Guinea!