Jan 082014

Quick ride from the Hilton in their shuttle bus, and I was at Malabo ready to check in.  The only problem was, the check-in area was total chaos.  Dozens of Chinese everywhere, each with several bags, busy saran wrapping them, tying them up with twine, you name it.  The room was chaos.  Since I couldn’t see a line, I just pushed my way to the front of the mass of humanity, and eventually found a check-in desk.  Yes, it was for Ethiopian, and yes, I could check in.  No checked bags, so should be a piece of cake.  I had tried online checkin, but it said it didn’t work, however, the seat I’d selected took.  Bulkhead aisle…not bad for a 30 minute flight.

Couldn’t figure out where to go next….tried one door, there was a woman at what looked like a passport check…nope, this is domestic flights…she waved her hands and pointed in another direction.  After wandering around looking lost for several more minutes, I finally found the right passageway, leading to international passport control and security.  Piece of cake, and soon I was in a large waiting room.  Time to have a seat.

There was a hallway marked “VIP lounge” but there was a security guy guarding it.  He wouldn’t let me past.  So, when he disappeared a few minutes later I just went down the hall, and followed some stairs upstairs….and did a little plane spotting:


Found the door to the VIP lounge, and it was unlocked…so I went in.  Nobody was in there.  Hmmm…there was a flight board though!

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Jan 072014

Got through customs and immigration, and expected a driver to be waiting from my hotel…but there was none to be found. One other problem, there were no taxis at the airport at all. My hotel was only about a mile away and would have been walkable, but my body was far from ready for the humidity and was saying hell no. To top it off, nobody hanging around spoke any English…so because yo hablo Chipotle, I gave it a go. I finally found a guy about 20 minutes later who was a private driver for one of the big oil companies, and he said he’d be happy to give me a lift to my hotel. Yes, this sounds like hitchhiking…and to top it off, he refused to consider money. There’s still hope for humanity!

Checked in, got a regular room no upgrade, but it was perfectly clean and comfortable and cool, no complaints at all!  Grabbed a quick snack and beer at the pool, before crashing for the night.  The pool was rather scenic, and the warm weather reminded me I wasn’t in Minnesota any more!



Up earlyish the next morning around 8, and went down to the lobby to see about getting to the city.  The one major downside of the Hilton (or upside, depending on your needs) is that it’s near the airport, and a few miles out of the city.  Not to worry, there’s an on-demand shuttle from the hotel, and he would take me into the city and pick me up again – no charge – whenever I wanted!  Wow!  Headed downtown, with about 2-3 hours to see as much as I could before my flight.

See, I’d taken advantage of the 24 hour stop rule for international tickets, and found out that I could get Equatorial Guinea for about 18 hours, Cameroon for about 20, and then head to Gabon…all for the same amount of miles!  I’m not one to turn down free countries.

First stop was the Cathedral of Santa Isabela:




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