After 7 months straight in Chad I got to go on a trip to Germany for a conference! Getting to Germany wasn't easy at all as my reservations for the direct flight from N'Djamena to Paris were deleted and I had to take the CamAir flight down to Douala to get a flight to Paris. Due to computer problems we had open seating all the way to Paris on completely full flights, so it was a free for all in getting onto the planes.
Unfortunately our CamAir arrived in Douala the same time as the Air France and Brussels flight and only one baggage carousel was working. Naturally CamAir was the last to be circulated after an hour of watching other peoples baggage fall off the carousel in a packed hot humid room. By the time by bag arrived I was completely sweat soaked and dehydrated.
Thankfully once I got past the vendors selling Eto'o jerseys there was an open breezeway where I could cool off. As I was waiting for my flight to board I met a couple American doctors who had just wrapped up six-weeks volunteering in northern Cameroon. They had fun stories of hanging out in the villages and the amazing diseases and problems they had only heard about in medical school or seen on the TV show "House."
Once aboard the flight to Paris and every seat was filled it was announced that there would be some minor delays, that ended up lasting two hours. This delay in departure resulted in arriving in Paris two hours late and missing my connecting flight. Once I got through another 45 min line to talk to the Air France representative about a new flight they informed me that they had no record of my next flight in the system, even though I had a copy of my tickets.
An hour later they finally straightened out my ticket and told me "we got you onto the next flight, but they have already started boarding. If you can hurry, you can make it. Don't worry about your checked bag, we will make sure it gets to Germany with you. Your gate is just up the stairs and down the hallway." Down the hallway ended up being a 15 min scramble through the airport, up and down numerous stairs, and through two customs points. I was almost the last one on the plane, but my bag didn't make it.
Upon arrival in Germany Air France called my name over the loudspeaker in baggage claim saying i needed to report to the representative. The representative informed me that my bag didn't make the flight and they would forward it to me. Again. The last time I took Air France out of Germany my bag was lost between Paris and Germany and it took three days for them to deliver it to me.
The cool next part of my trip was taking the ICE train from the airport to Stuttgart and zipping along through the Germany countryside at 200km per hour. The train was packed by Germans with suitcases and at every stop more got on. It seems that the Germans were all going to Munich to celebrate the holiday weekend.
I really enjoyed the train ride through the countryside with the cool mist, green fields, and light breezes. I am always amazed at how clean and organized Germany is, especially after extended periods on the continent. I am so looking forward to the german food...