5th leg, leaving the never-ever-again-airport

November 26, 2012

So we got up at 04:00 happy that we would leave this silly place soon. Security at the airport meant that in each room a light had to be kept turned on, day and night. Surprisingly we slept fairly well in the couch (me) and on the couch cushions on the floor (Urs).

No coffee. We were afraid to order any since the water was smelling. No food, just some peanuts and chocolates.  We prepared the a/c, all the time realizing we still were without our passports. The passports came and after Urs asked permission for a push-back and engine start, we received half an answer. The handling agents made a push-back by hand and we started the engine. Though we were in an unusual position at the Apron, not any of our calls were replied to. We must have made 40 or so. Only after we returned to our parking place with a running engine, our call was responded and we could proceed to taxi. Really nice people in Jeddah. They probably wanted to reiterate how unwelcome we were. If that was their aim, they succeeded very well. 40 years ago the average waiting time for a cargo vessel to get a berth was 14 months, now all has been modernized, but the people didn’t change.

…good bye Jeddah

We had a good flight, not the slightest turbulance. Some problems to make contact with Jeddah and with Djibouti radar. We even asked the help of a Blue Panaramo a/c, without result however. Getting closer to Djibouti we could make contact and received proper guidance for VOR-DME (very high frequency omnidirectional range – distance measuring equipment] approach to runway 09 [direction 90 degrees i.e. East] which we received on short notice having prepared an approach for runway 27 [direction 270 degrees i.e. West].

Preparing the approach to Djibouti.

Nice reception at Djibouti. Sheraton Hotel recommended by Fredy Prachoinig of Pilatus, was ok. We started drinking Cappuccino and Espresso before we even considered a shower.

At Djibouti Intl

In the afternoon we visited the old city of Djibouti. It was very old, very poor, sandy and very dirty. Comparable to Salvador, Brasil. One hour was enough.

Tomorrow the President of Djibouti will receive the President of Etheopia (hope I got it right, but could have been mistaken with Eritrea). As a result of this important meeting the airport will be simply closed for four hours, from 08:00 to 12:00 so our flight of 10:00 needs to be postponed. We may use this delay to update our Apex Honeywell/Jeppesen [electronic navigation data base on board]. I managed to download 540Mb data this afternoon via the hotel WiFi (wiefie opa!) so crossing fingers for tomorrow.

After a good rest and swim we are ready to go tomorrow, regardless of any Presidents’ meeting.

Tomorrow we will know, if our effort number 5 to have a decent coffee on board will be succesfull. If not we will be at Sophie’s mercy on Tuesday next week.

We noticed today that Nairobi is at some 80 Nm South of the Equator. I had no idea it was that South.

It is not easy to keep this blog of interest for pilots and non-pilots at the same time. Therefore I am giving from time to time some basic information or explanation [between this type of brackets].

Will be continued.

Post by Harry Heijst | November 26, 2012 |