Friday, December 9, 2011

Last days of the trip

It's like everyone is rushing to leave.
Eventually, it became time to leave the base and head for home.  We got to the port early in the afternoon but had to wait for the passengers of an earlier ship to check in before we could check in.  This process took at least 3 hours and the passengers of the earlier ship were heading to Absinia.  As a joke, the workers at the port offered to let us go to Absinia if we wanted but no one for our ship took them up on their offer.

Something interesting I noticed was that many of the passengers to Absinia were carrying large stuffed animals and even baby dolls.  We assumed that these were gifts to their children back home but nonetheless, it was a strange sight.  In one particular case, I thought one of the women was carrying a live baby before a closer examination revealed that it was a doll.  Many of these passengers were overloaded with luggage and wore many layers of clothing to lighten the luggage load.  That was also a strange sight and it infuriated that baggage handlers as there was a limit on the weight of the cargo per person.

When new people arrived at the port, we could immediately tell from their ethnicity which ship they were planning to board.  If they didn't look Absinian, then they had tickets to our ship.  We had to warn them from getting on the wrong line as we weren't sure if the port worker was serious in his offer.  Our ship was truly multicultural that night.

After all the Absinians were checked in and locked behind a cage door on one side of port, we checked in and waited on the other side of port.  It was a long wait of at least two hours as our ship had yet to come in and no one knew when it was going to arrive.  Fortunately, I had a packet of dried berries which I shared with fellow passengers.  I also had a bag of chocolate chip cookies too but was unable to get to it as I was forgotten to remove it from my luggage as I was checking in.  Eventually, our ship arrived as we boarded.

Due to our later departure time of our ship, we were really worried about being unable to make our transfer to the next ship that would take us home.  It did not help that we had to obtain a visa at the transfer point.  This was because of some stupid bureaucratic thing that required us to get our luggage from the first ship, get the visa, leave the port (and take a few steps into the city), turn around, and reenter the port at an adjacent door.  Getting the visas took 2 hours and we could have literally taken a few steps through the port if we didn't need to get the visas and our passports stamped.

Fortunately, everything was settled with half an hour to spare so we had a snack at the lounge.  The voyage back to our home country took 14 hours.  However, even then, I would still need to take another ship to reach my home city.

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