Tip #1022: My Equatorial Guinea Adventure: Heading Home

I took the hotel shuttle to the airport and luckily there was a guy there who knew where I had to go and what I had to do. He took over lugging my two heavy suitcases, directing me to where I had to show my passport and then send the two suitcases through security before I could go to the counter to get my boarding passes.

The Ethiopian Airlines agent had me give her my name and address, plus my passport number and date of birth (she had my passport in front of her!) on two different forms.  It must have taken fifteen minutes to finally get my tickets.

Boarding is a cattle call. They recognize zones 1-3, but my zone, 4, is a ragged mess. I’ve been very lucky in that someone always helps me put my backpack and carry on in the upper bin and this time was no different.

I sat with an older woman in an abaya and hijab who took care of me.

The stewardess came around with tiny ear buds to wear to watch movies (yay!), but they were intricately twisted. My seatmate watched me struggle and finally took it from me and competently unwound the cords.

Later, she offered me an apple (which I took) and even had a bag for us to put our cores into.

The trip to Bole International Airport in Addis Ababa took four hours.

There was a great rush to get through security (again, taking out everything and having to put my Fitbit into the bin as well.)  Everything was so rushed that I completely forgot about my Fitbit, so now it’s gone.

Then we were rushed down a long hall to ANOTHER security checkpoint for the same darn airline, and I had to take everything out again.

Next time I travel internationally I’ll get a Global Pass!!

It turned out that we had to wait an hour to board. Had I known that I didn’t have to rush, I would have gone back immediately after the first security checkpoint to get my Fitbit.

Our first leg of the trip to Chicago stopped in Rome after 6 hours flight time to fuel up again.

The last leg was over 9 hours. But I was happy watching lots of movies I haven’t seen, such as Singing in the Rain, Spy (with Melissa McCarthy), and Bridges of Madison County, which of course made me cry.

I did try to sleep and maybe was successful for an hour or so.

We got to Chicago at 7:30 am and had to queue up for a while, answer a few questions, show our passports, and have our photo taken. Next, we had to go through security (yes, everything electronic out once again) and finally gather all our luggage, since none of it would be transferred to other connecting airlines.

Luckily, O’Hare provides luggage trolleys for free, and a very kind gentleman wrestled both of my heavy suitcases off the conveyer belt and onto the trolley.

I dropped off my luggage at United, then took the airport transport from terminal 5 to terminal 1, retracing the steps I took last Saturday to get to the Ethiopian Airline.

I had to get a new boarding pass for the United trip to Madison because the Ethiopian Airline agent who tore my ticket for my trip from Malabo tore up my boarding pass for Madison.

It wasn’t a big deal getting a new one.

I hung around the airport, reading my Kindle, checking email, getting bites to eat, and writing this. Oh, and ordering a new Fitbit from E-bay. I feel lost without my watch!!

I looked forward to getting to Madison. Unfortunately, getting a cab or an Uber was a trial. But I finally got home, and the nice taxi driver carried all my luggage up the stairs to my front door.

Thank goodness for the kindness of strangers throughout my journey.

And thank you for coming along for the trip.

May your learning be sweet.



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