The front desk of the hotel said they’d called me a cab. Ten minutes later, there was no cab, I kept asking, it’s on the way. Still no cab. Ten minutes later…no cab…finally one shows up. Are you noticing a trend in Lusophone Africa? Cabs are a novelty, that take a long time to show up, even if you’re willing to pay for them. Regardless, finally it showed up, was cheap, I picked up Jordan, and we were on the way to the airport. We knew it was a small airport from our arrivals experience so planned to get there 90 minutes in advance.
Got there in plenty of time, and tried to enter the terminal, only to be told there was a tax to be paid that wasn’t included in the ticket. Seriously? That’s still a thing these days? I can count on one hand how many of my 154 countries visited do that….so congratulations Sao Tome, you’re in the company of Cameroon and others 😉
Paid my $21, and was allowed into the terminal, only to be met with this very sophisticated check-in area. For a minute I wondered how I took a picture of myself checking in, and then I realised I’d never wear cargo shorts 😉
Check-in was a manual process, no computers anywhere. There was a list with 12 names, and they crossed us off as we showed up and gave us handwritten boarding cards….without seat numbers. Basically, take any available seat! Wow, it was like flying back in time to the 1970s or something!
Security? Um, yes, it was one bored person (no metal detectors, nude-a-scopes, or similar technology here) and after 15 seconds of going through my carryons they gave up. Just couldn’t be bothered. Then, passport control was similarly lax…and literally 5 minutes from check-in to gate took 5 minutes. We really didn’t have to show up 90 minutes early. “Duty Free,” however, offered lots of treats including the suspicious Dom:
There were only four or five people in the gate area at this point, and it was not exactly interesting. This group of Chinese was soon led into the waiting area, and it appeared to be a tour of “look at how fantastic the airport you upgraded for us is!”
Complete with a Christmas Tree that makes the one in the Charley Brown Christmas special look special: