Silver

The day Gadafi died
Thursday 20
th October 2011

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Well, the end was near, so it was time to pack our bags and leave paradise. Usually by this point of a trip we're ready to go home but today we would happily stayed another week!

We got up, sorted out our suitcases then headed over to the main hut. Whilst we ate a refreshing fruit cocktail for breakfast Alex whipped up some cream. It wasn't to pour over our fruit though.

She had made a fresh aloe vera moisturising cream (or "Hello Vera" as we say in a Northern accent) for us to rub onto our sore skin.

Julie had woken up this morning noticing she had also caught the sun. She felt quite tender and warm to the touch.

It was kind of Alex to go to the trouble of making the cactus cream.

Our pick up for our transfer to the airport wasn't until midday so another morning was spent at the beach trying our best to suspend time but twelve o'clock came around far too soon. We paid our bill which had risen sharply to a few hundred dollars and waved a reluctant good bye to Echo Beach.

It really had been the perfect place to unwind.

The journey across the island took us an hour, following the same route as on Monday, by-passing Bwejju, turning West at Paje, slowing down through the Jozani Forest, looking incredulously at the Zanzibar University campus in Tunguu and being fascinated by the colourful dresses worn by the women in the busy outskirts of the capital city.

The airport was just to the South of the city so after we reached Zanzibar Town it didn't take us long to arrive.

Checking in was a little chaotic. We queued outside, in direct sun at first then in the shade of a canopy. I don't know why but it had the feel of an agricultural market!

There didn't appear to be any organised lines for specific flights so we chose one. Of course sods law was invoked and it turned out to be the slowest moving but we weren't bothered. We had plenty of time.

Julie was much happier being distracted by people from all walks of life in the check-in queues rather than waiting at the departure gate, chewing her nails to the bone and feeling sick with the anxiety.

 

 

 

At least it offered a slight delay from the inevitable. Eventually the inevitable had no choice but to arrive and we were sat at the departure gate with Julie descending into battle against her fears.

She was aided and abetted by a special forces team of three diazepams swallowed in rapid succession flushed down with a diet coke the moment she saw the Precision Air twin prop airplane arriving from Dar es Salaam.

At least on this occassion she knew what to expect, a small plane with only two propellers, shambolic service by nevertheless charming cabin crew, dressed in ridiculous lime green uniforms.

We took off into the skies as dusk fell, flying over the ocean towards Pemba Island and then up the African coastline.

The sun was setting beautifully and we were totally captivated by the view from high on up here. It only glowed for a few minutes then was gone, returning the sky into dullness.

Julie seemed to be coping. Distracting herself with games on the iPad, trying to pretend she wasn't on a plane but at home in bed instead seemed to be working.

We landed smoothly in Nairobi in total darkness.

Ahead of us was a five hour wait before our flight home.

This was our third visit to the Jomo Kenyatta airport's international departures lounge. We wandered about the narrow strip from the Dormans bar at one end to the Java House coffee bar on the other end.

We also went for a gander down to the exit. I was tempted to go through immigration just to get a Kenya stamp in my passport but as I was formulating in my head my pitch to Julie it sounded so stupid I ditched the idea before it surfaced.

There wasn't much there but for toilets and prayer rooms for those shitting themselves both literally and metaphorically.

Hungry we ended up back in the Java Coffee House where we shared of all things a very tasty quesadillas. I wasn't expecting a Mexican themed menu!

The news channel was on the TV up in the corner of the room. I'd been avoiding looking at it in case of bad news about Kenya and specifically Nairobi but I glanced up and read the headline "Gaddafi killed".

They showed the moment he was captured, dragged out of his car and beaten.

For his part in supporting international terrorism and his tyrannical rule of Libya he got what was coming, I guess.

But in those scenes from Sirte we felt sorry for him. He knew he was going to die and we took no pleasure in watching.

We left a clean plate and could easily have eaten another one it was so tasty but we had to go as our departure gate was now open. In a daze we boarded the plane for the long flight home.

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