Bad karma

On Sunday morning at the gate for our flight to Cameroon I met up with my colleague who had just arrived from LAX. She had had barely time to collect herself after an 11 hour flight and get ready for the next flight of 7 hours.  She had asked about the price of an upgrade (from LAX to CDG) which was 2000 dollars for B-class and 900 dollars for First Class – both more than she was willing to pay. It is strange that first Class costs less than half of B-Class. I don’t understand the airline price calculations at all.

I travelled light; for 5 days one doesn’t need much. I have the kind of travel clothes that you can crumple and resurrect without anyone noticing that they were pushed into the corner of a bag. The only thing I had had to check was one of those pull up posters that one sees at conferences. I figured if it would get lost it wouldn’t be a problem. I didn’t plan to bring it back as the text would be outdated in a week. These are the paraphernalia of conferences I attach little value to.

When we arrived my colleague discovered that one of her three suitcases was missing. She is married with a Cameroonian. The suitcases, stuffed with presents for family members, arrived. The one with her own stuff did not. And so, like in Liberia 6 weeks ago, we waited, then waited some more to be told to wait in another line to register the missing suitcase. By the time we left the terminal everyone was gone and no one was inspecting anything anymore. It felt eerily familiar.

By the time we arrived at the hotel the restaurant was just closing for the night. All that Air France served (5 hours after lunch) was a tiny little ice cream bar so we were hungry at 11 PM. We ordered room service: me brochettes de capitaine (nile perch) and my colleague ordered a vegetable curry. I made the right choice and had a delicious meal; the curry turned out to be contaminated. My colleague threw up all through the night. With the missing luggage and the bad meal she had started the week of badly.

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