G’s Journal—day 5
Today was travel day! I’m trying to sound excited, but I most definitely much prefer to have visiting friends in camps day than having to run and wait to move from one town to the next and then to the next. You know, today it was not all bad. The waiting was minimal, especially relative to Chad, and the flights were even enjoyable.
Jim, a pilot we met on our jump up north to Guereda, was again flying the plane south to Abeche, where it would be a short touchdown, and then on to Goz Beida. On the first leg of the trip, I had to make my way up to the seat right behind Jim, since other seats, all of the 8 others, were taken. It’s a tight squeeze in those planes, with their non-existent hallways. You have to just about jump over the seats to get through.
On landing, we had our friend Yousef waiting for us. He found us a good car, or so I hoped, since I did not get a chance to check it out, and had loaded our extra luggage we had left in Abeche. He also got us lots of water and, very importantly, bought a football (soccer ball). We did not have any time at all to go out of the small (but huge for Eastern Chad standards) Abeche airport. We were hoping to find Jeremiah and Josh there, but they were delayed in N’djamena because permits to be gotten.
Jim, when he heard me ask for permission to video-record during the flight, said, “Hey, would you like to ride next to me upfront?” Big-smile on my face, I said, “yes!” of course, and I went up as the unofficial and “don’t touch anything” co-pilot. I got to wear the headphones, so I heard the conversations between tower and planes and even between planes. I understood very little of what they were saying, even though they were speaking in English.
There are amazing views, crossing the Chadian desert north to south: long and wide dry river beds, which fill up and become impassable during the rainy season; all shades of browns with lines that make beautiful patterns; and the, in me, euphoria causing vast expanses of everything but nothing touched by man.
It was really cool to talk with Jim. He lived in Ethiopia with his wife and children. His son is a pilot, and his daughter has been working in all these different parts of the world. I told him that exploration must run in his family’s blood.
Well, to make a long story short and to tell you the only reason I wanted to write this journal entry, Jim wants to say “hi” to his wonderful wife Elizabeth (“with a z”). So there. Thanks for the ride, Jim!